A glance into her eyes made me avert mine away. She’s acted crazy before. She began, “I had a conversation here yesterday with three women. There were four generations, about ten years apart. I think I was the oldest. I’m 84.” I listened. Her charcoal rimmed eyes were droopy and her lips were red matching her manicured feet. I sat naked on my towel and she sat in a full bathing suit across from me in the dry sauna. She was away for two and a half months because she fell. Her body though thin and maybe brittle looked supple and strong for her age. Our flip flops dried on the wooden floor, we dripped chlorine and salt through our pores.
“I’m at an age when I fall a lot. You see, I move like a teenager.” After a pause, she spoke slowly and deliberately. “Well, my family took my car away, and it’s the worst – the worst thing anyone can do to me.” I was transported back to being fourteen, and living in Edmonton. Determined to get my driver’s license, I snuck out the Toyota Celica all over the flat city. It was the only way to get out. I knew how she felt. “It’s like taking your freedom away” I said. “Exactly,” she said. And because I understood her, she was compelled to expose herself to me. “I’m bipolar”. I could’ve told her, “I’m alcoholic”, and let her make up her mind. I didn’t know the medical implications of being bipolar, though I’ve heard people use the word a lot. She takes 5 different pills daily. But sometimes she forgets to take them. I finally understood why she acted crazy in the past.
“It bothers me that doctors can’t figure out what’s wrong with me. I’m not an idiot. I’ve written books that were published”. She looked down at her body between the mental lines as though picking the exact words to convey her truth. Finally she said, “I’m looking for someone to drive me around. I’d pay of course, and generously. I just need someone two days a week so I can do my banking and errands. Do you know anybody who might be interested?” I ride a motorcycle. “I’d offer to drive you but I don’t have a car. I can ask around” I said. “Ok”, she got up to leave. “I’m Analyn. What’s your name?” She stood sideways by the opened door while the heat of the sauna escaped with her, “I am a poet” she declared then walked on.