Boundaries. I would first like to describe, (so there can be absolutely no misunderstanding), exactly where Henrietta’s lie.
They are completely and utterly nonexistent. People, I have searched. They are not there. I have reason to believe they never were. Kind of like a quirky birth defect that it’s OK to laugh at, because, damn, there is nothing else to do when you have been made that uncomfortable.
Today was just the latest on her arm long rap sheet of offenses.
Keelan’s friend, we’ll call her Marie to protect the innocent, came home from college for the day and was over at the house to see Keelan. When she walked through the living room Henrietta saw her and they exchanged hello’s and the customary, “I haven’t seen you in so long”, and “It’s so good to see you again…”, and “How’s college?”
This is all sounding so civilized and like she knows how to comport herself, right?
I started feeling uncomfortable and was slowly realizing what was coming when she said, “Marie, I remember the last time you were here you had lost so much weight!”.
Ohshit, ohshit ohshit…
Then, under her breath a little but unmistakable to everyone in the room, “But, I see you’re gaining it all back.”.
Damn. The poor girl had almost made it to the stairs, too.
Every time one of her nieces is down from New York to visit she makes a comment about her weight. Every. Single. Time. Only she is, only slightly, a little less affronting with her. The lady is extremely overweight and I would guess you could say “morbidly obese”. Henrietta asks her if she’s trying to diet on each visit.
She comes from New York. A milliondy-thousand miles away for this.
Yes, we’ve got such genteel, charming, southern breeding down here. And then there’s Henrietta.
Oh! Wait a minute! I was about to sign off when another unforgettable moment sprung to mind. Several years ago, when H was on hospice, her nurse was a dear lady in her 60’s that we all became very fond of. She still comes over to visit from time to time and I run out to have lunch with her here and again.
Of course Henrietta got to know her life’s story by asking one obtrusive question after the other back when she first started coming to pay professional visits to her. She was very close to death at that point, yet not so close that she couldn’t be nosy. I am fairly certain there is no such place.
After knowing her for a few weeks and ascertaining that she was 63 and had never been married, she popped up and asked her if she was a virgin. I almost fell over. To her credit, Connie, the nurse, snapped back, “Well, sure!” and gave her something to think about.
You know, over the years, even with Connie and I referring to her girlfriend that lives with her and everything, she still doesn’t get it that Connie’s gay.
I bet I could blow her mind with that.