Jordan Rossen and Paul Rossen


Jordan Rossen’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Albion Review, Apalachee Review, Fourteen Hills, and elsewhere. He has received a Hopwood Award for short fiction from the University of Michigan and is currently enrolled in the MFA (fiction) program at the University of Montana.

Paul Rossen studied film and music theory at the University of Michigan. His documentary work has aired on PBS multiple times, and his film Through the Same Door: Inclusion Includes College won the 2006 TASH Image Award. This is his first publication.


You Thrive Now

In the spring, Vella saw a neurologist about tremors. It was her co-worker Dawn who first noticed them. Vella’s hand was hovering over her keyboard, and Dawn pointed to it. “You anxious?”

“Not that I know of,” said Vella, and she stared at her hand, stunned.

She expected a CAT scan or a blood test, but instead the doctor made her walk back and forth in a straight line. He made her move her hands over her head and then out in front of her and then to the side.

“Is this a diagnostic test for Parkinson’s or tryouts for the cheerleading squad?”

The doctor smiled, fatherly. “You’re nervous.”

“Yes,” she said.

He made her write different sentences on a piece of scrap paper and then draw curlicues along the border. Finally, he made her eat an imaginary meal of tea and spaghetti: bringing a teacup to her lips, setting it back down on the saucer; twirling a fork around on her plate before taking a bite.

“Now, hold the fork in front of your mouth as if the spaghetti’s too hot to eat.”

Vella blinked at him. “This has got to be a joke, right?”

The doctor couldn’t be sure, but he thought she had something called Essential Tremor.

“Essential Tremor,” repeated Vella. She liked the sound of it. She imagined it meant the tremor was important to her body: essential vitamins, essential tremor. Or that it was somehow necessary to do things, to go places, like car keys.

There were potential medications, the doctor told her, but not without serious side effects. Better to hold off while the Essential Tremor remained mild. “Of course, you could have early onset Parkinson’s,” he added quickly, “though forty is still young for Parkinson’s.”

“Thirty-eight,” corrected Vella.

“Even better!” He was suddenly cheerful. He told her to come back if they got any worse.


Now, six months later, the whole experience at the doctor’s—the cheerleading, the curlicues, the tea party—continues to leave Vella feeling like a little girl. Her mother, Edythe, does have Parkinson’s, and so Vella’s tremors seem pubescent to her. They are something her mother has; they are something Vella now has, too. It is all a part of growing up.

She also feels closer to Edythe, more willing to be on her side. In February, just two months after moving into Sunrise, Edythe confessed to falling in love with a man named Alvin, and Vella makes sure to embrace the relationship. She visits Edythe on Saturdays, and now when they eat lunch or watch a movie, Alvin joins them. He wears a Detroit Tigers ballcap, like one her father used to wear, and the basket on his walker contains a fake bouquet of flowers and several dinner rolls, no matter the time of day. “It’s what I hope to have in my walker basket,” she tells Edythe, as evidence she likes him.

The staff at Sunrise and Alvin’s two sons are less embracing of the relationship. Vella can’t blame them. Edythe often spends the night at his apartment, and the caretaker assigned to Alvin keeps finding her in his bed, naked, and a few times on top of him.

“Their shenanigans are bound to leave Edythe tired and dizzy,” said one of the sons last month, at a meeting arranged by the Sunrise director. The sons lived out west, and the director had them conferenced in and put on speakerphone.

“Agreed,” said the other son. Vella had assumed they feared for Alvin’s safety, but their concerns seemed focused on Edythe. “Aren’t you afraid the intimacy will take a toll on her health?”

“Sort of,” said Vella. She was concerned, not to mention a little grossed out and surprised. “But it’s not like my mother does anything ever anyway. I guess my point of view is, if boys will be boys, why can’t crazy old folks be crazy old folks?”

“Fine,” said one of the sons, “but no more nights out on the town.”

Vella knew what he was talking about. In April, the week after the Essential Tremor diagnosis, she took Alvin to see My Fair Lady at the Hilberry. The plan was for all three of them to go, but Edythe had come down with something and so they went without her. There was a screw-up in the second act, a malfunction with a fountain, and afterward they laughed about it. “That was a howler,” Alvin had said as they strolled out of the theater. He’d brought his cane instead of his walker, and their arms were linked as if they were a couple. “That was a real mistake.”

“Do you understand?” said one of the sons.

“Yes, I absolutely understand.” She was in a bad mood. “I mean, how ludicrous of me to do that. How totally careless and insane of me to bring a grown man to see My Fair Lady.”

“Glad we’re on the same page,” said the director. He hadn’t spoken much during the meeting, and his voice startled Vella. “My secretary will fax over a form for one of you to sign,” he told the sons before disconnecting them. He turned to Vella and smiled. “Please sign here.” He had placed an X where he wanted her to sign. “And here.”


Vella remains lost as to whom to tell about the disorder. She isn’t going to tell Edythe—what would be the point?—and she definitely isn’t going to tell Dawn. She doesn’t want it getting around at work, not right now. She manages a team of telemarketers that solicits season subscriptions for the Hilberry. Their big fall opener is The Pirates of Penzance, and so she trains callers to say things like “When the Hilberry does Gilbert and Sullivan, they do it better than anybody!” But subscription sales are below goal, and Dawn is after her job. She’s the top caller and the one employee who’s been there longer than Vella. As an infant, Dawn had scarlet fever and it left her speech permanently garbled, without rs or ls. For Dawn, it is Piwates of Penzance. Dawn says the people on the phone think she is mentally retarded and that she uses this to her advantage.

Now, of course, Vella is grateful for the promotion to manager, for the health benefits and pay raise, even if she didn’t deserve it. She found out later she was chosen only because her father had been the theater’s accountant until his death six years ago. That, and her childhood acting experience, which had pleased the board members. Her parents would bring her to auditions, and a few times she got lucky. She did a Bob Evans commercial, a PSA about bicycle helmets, and once she was even on Broadway, as a munchkin in The Wizard of Oz. It was for the final four months of the show when no one was going anymore, and while Vella still lists the job at the bottom of her résumé she has otherwise learned not to mention it to people. The response is always the same: “The Wizard of Oz! What role?” and she always has to say “just a munchkin,” like “just a secretary” or “just a housewife.”


On Saturday, she visits Edythe to watch West Side Story on TV. When she gets there, Edythe and Alvin are sitting on the loveseat. “I can’t believe how many channels Sunrise has,” she says, flipping through them and trying to find the right one.

“This place is OK,” says Edythe in her robotic rasp of a voice. She stares off, thinking. “It gets too cold.”

“They do keep the air on too high, sometimes.” She pats her mother’s leg. “Found it!” she says, and Edythe clasps her shaking hands together.

Vella sits in the chair by Edythe’s old desktop, goes online, and updates her Facebook status to: Vella Walfoort is imagining a gay orgy of Jets and Sharks, Daddy-o. She goes to the Sunrise homepage, which advertises all of its amenities. Edythe was an attorney and saved up, and as far as Vella is concerned, Sunrise is a palace. There’s a library, exercise facilities, a rec room with a pool table. The weekend Edythe moved in, they ate at the cafeteria, which the staff kept calling a restaurant. They had menus and served roasted chicken, and for a moment it did feel to Vella like a restaurant. “How do you get the chicken so moist?” she asked the cook when he was making his rounds.

“Tinfoil, chicken stock, and flipping the bird over half-way through.” He smiled at Vella, then at Edythe. “Can I interest either of you in our homemade blueberry pie?”

“Please!” said Vella.

At the end of the movie, Edythe and Alvin applaud.

“There’s a Halloween party that’s a big deal here,” says Edythe. She opens her mouth to try and speak again but no words come out. She turns to Alvin and shrugs helplessly.

“It’s a fundraiser for charity,” explains Alvin. “We thought you could accompany us.”

“That’s it,” says Edythe.

“It’s a costume party, so you would need a costume,” he says.

“Oh?” says Vella. “Are you going as a young Clark Gable? You wouldn’t even need a costume.”

He blushes, takes off his ballcap, and runs his fingers through his gray, straggly hair. “I’m going as Richard Nixon.”

“Richard Nixon!” she shrieks, in feigned horror, and Alvin gazes at her adoringly.


Vella decides to redecorate her apartment. She wants to make it more serene, and so she paints the walls aqua because the guy at the store tells her that blue represents tranquility. She feels a little silly since she redecorated her apartment just three years ago, when her then-boyfriend moved in. He was a new-media consultant who taught her about Twitter and Facebook, about status updates, and who told her the trick to not fighting was to get undressed and face each other’s bodily imperfections. He could be playful and sensitive, and he liked to sit up in bed, in their newly painted bedroom, and nuzzle her, forcefully. “Don’t be frightened,” he’d said the first time, after he saw that she was horrified. “I’m rubbing my scent on you so I’ll be with you always.” Eventually, though, she learned he liked rubbing his scent on other women, too. Who could say on how many? Soon Dawn would come into work smelling of him. Soon his scent would be everywhere! On the nights he stayed out late, she scrutinized his Facebook wall for clues of where he might be and then changed her status to: Vella Walfoort is seething with rage. When, finally, she confronted him about sleeping around, he took off his clothes. “Look at me,” he said, letting his underwear drop and stepping out of it. “I’m human.” Vella had grown furious. “What am I, an antelope?” she’d said. “Forget bodily imperfections. I need remorse,” and he put his clothes back on, moved his stuff out that weekend, and never came back.

She buys new furniture to go with her now-aqua walls: sectional sofa, ottoman, recliner. She wants to make sure the new pieces won’t clash or be too loud, so she purchases everything in similar shades of faded blue. Once it is all delivered, she sits in the recliner and admires her handiwork. It felt good to paint, to push the roller up and down, to see immediate results. So what if it’s unevenly applied in some places. So what if she has Essential Tremor.


It is the caretaker assigned to nightly checks who finds Edythe lying on the floor by the bookcase. “She was sleeping in her own apartment instead of Alvin’s tonight,” the caretaker says. “When I came in, she was on the ground. She’d hit her head on the glass. Here she is now.”

“Vella?” murmurs Edythe.

“Mom, what happened?” As she holds her phone, she can feel her hand trembling.

Edythe tells her she woke up with the idea to show Alvin one of her old law school casebooks—“To impress him,” she says—and had a fall along the way. “I didn’t use my walker because I don’t always need it. Alvin doesn’t always use his.”

“Alvin?” says Vella incredulously. “Alvin doesn’t have Parkinson’s. What is this, old lady machismo? Geriatric machisma?” She can imagine the fall vividly: her mother’s shuffling gait, her stooping forward, then stooping farther forward so that she starts to pick up speed, until, finally, she topples as if in the beginning of some impossible somersault, hurtling into the bookcase and shattering the glass enclosure with her head.

“Christ,” says Vella. “Are you OK?”

“I’m fine,” says Edythe. “It was spooky is all it was.”

But the next morning Edythe vomits on herself and her speech slurs, and it is then that Sunrise phones for an ambulance, which Edythe reportedly kept calling a fire hydrant during the few minutes it took for the ambulance to arrive.


The concussion is severe, and they have to place Edythe in the extended care unit. Vella tries to keep up at work and not get consumed by the whole thing but it’s difficult. That next week, Edythe uses her room phone to leave Vella frantic voicemails about a pending defamation lawsuit. All those years suing people, and now she has nightmares of being sued. Vella shudders at what her own nightmares might be: repo men phoning incessantly, needing her to make good on the thousands of dollars she pledged to donate.

Also, Vella’s own tremors are worsening, she is sure of it. They no longer seem localized to her hands. She feels them, instead, on her head, in her head. She feels them deep in her chest, a buzzing within her ribcage, like a refrigerator fan. Tremor of the Essence, she thinks drunkenly one night. She is increasingly aware of them, self-conscious about them. Even though it is still fairly warm out, she dresses in her winter clothing because they make her feel more enclosed. She dresses in layers, in heavy turtlenecks and pants, and wears wool socks or pantyhose underneath. When she goes to bed, she wraps blankets around her, tightly, like a sleeping bag.

The tremors make it impossible to concentrate on anything else. She was looking forward to Pirates of Penzance, but when she goes the tremors distract her. “I’m bored,” she whispers to Dawn after the third number. “Yighten up,” Dawn whispers back. At work, Vella is impatient with her staff and with the handful of people she herself phones about getting a subscription. Once, when a woman seems interested in season tickets but then starts second-guessing, Vella cuts her off. “Look,” she says, “you gonna buy a flex-pass or not?” and the woman hangs up on her.


On Saturday, after picking up Alvin, Vella visit Edythe at the hospital. The room smells of roast beef and green beans. “Lunch wasn’t as good as at Sunrise,” says Edythe.

Alvin talks about the upcoming Halloween party, with Edythe inserting a few words here and there. She’s decided, apparently, to go as a judge. Somewhere, she says, she has the gown, the white wig, the hammer. “Gavel,” corrects Alvin. Despite the earlier defamation calls, she seems surprisingly lucid. The doctors tell Vella they are planning to transfer Edythe out of the extended care unit.

Alvin says, “I’m still going as…,” and he holds out both hands and makes twin victory signs.

Vella brought Alvin knowing Edythe would want to see him, although he almost decided not to go. “My sons say I can’t leave the premises,” he said at first, before rattling after her and whispering, conspiratorially, “Rules are for the birds!” She sort of wishes he weren’t here. In the last week, he kept misplacing the phone number to Edythe’s room and has taken to repeatedly calling Vella for it. When she gives it to him, he always wants to chat afterward. It’s getting to be too much.

“Do you have a costume yet?” asks Edythe.

“Almost,” says Vella. She has narrowed it down to a Freudian slip or a big baby. “I’m either going to wear a slip and put a sign over my head that says Freud or else wear a gigantic onesie with a pink bib and a bonnet I found in the props room.” She moves her hands above her head to demonstrate the size of the bonnet.

“Your arms,” says Edythe. “They’re shaking.”

“Too much coffee this morning,” says Vella, and she drops her hands and puts them in her pockets.

On their way out Vella and Alvin pass a blind man and his seeing-eye dog. “It seems like those seeing-eye dogs hate their jobs,” says Alvin when they’re in her car. “Isn’t it a little inhumane?”

“No. What would be inhumane would be to not provide aid for the blind, wouldn’t you think?”

“You are so right!” says Alvin, and then he guffaws until it turns into a hacking cough. She glances over at him. They put his walker in the trunk, but he has the basket on his lap like a purse, a purse with an endless supply of dinner rolls.

Vella spends the rest of the weekend in her aqua-blue living room, except the more time she spends in it the more she finds that it looks scarily uniform, everything blending together in a way that makes it difficult to see the edges of things. “My apartment makes me seasick,” she tells Alvin, the next time he calls looking for Edythe’s phone number.

The neurologist can’t see Vella until after Thanksgiving, and so on a whim she makes an appointment with an acupuncturist. In his office, he spends a long time examining her tongue. He seems to be searching for clues, thinking outside the box, and Vella likes this. He measures her pulse, both wrists. “To check for imbalances,” he says. Then she lies on the table, and he sticks her with the needles—in her forehead, along her cheek bones, around the nose. She leaves feeling lightheaded but also controlled and contained, the first time in a long time. She updates her Facebook status to: Vella Walfoort is the smooth sax solo in the Pink Panther theme song.

The next morning, however, when she asks a man if he will buy season tickets, the man asks her if he can come on her face. She gasps. “I beg your pardon?”

“Can I come on your face?”

“It’s may you come on my face!” she begins to yell. “And no, you may not!” She slams down the phone. When she looks up the staff is staring at her, alarmed. Dawn is jotting notes in a pocket diary and shaking her head.


Before the Halloween party, she and Alvin go to the hospital. Vella’s hoping to take Edythe for the evening and bring her back, but when they get there the doctor on call notifies them of new complications, something to do with Edythe’s kidneys. They needed to put her on a dialysis machine, and she is heavily sedated.

Vella enters the room, Alvin in tow. In the dim light, Edythe appears impossibly haggard, and Vella spends a long time peering over her. Eventually she looks away; she has to. She turns to Alvin who has taken off his baseball cap. He is rubbing Edythe’s forearm near the spot where the tubes are connected. Vella studies his face, the distorted fleshiness of it, his hair damp and matted, and she suddenly feels tremendously grateful for him, for his having met Edythe, for having fallen in love with her. When, as they are leaving, Alvin asks if she’ll still go to the party with him, she says she would be honored.

The Sunrise director approaches them in a flurry once they return. “Busted,” says Alvin.

“Shit,” says Vella.

But the director has a different crisis. The person they scheduled to sing for the fundraiser has canceled last minute. He asks if Vella would fill in. “Your mother’s bragged about you. You were on Broadway? We’ll pay you.”

“And she works at the Hilberry,” says Alvin.

“As a telemarketer,” says Vella. “I don’t think so. I don’t even know any songs.”

“One of our residents is the piano accompanist. He’s got loads of sheet music. You could have your pick.” The director looks frightened. “The last time this happened, the residents were pretty disappointed. Some got angry.”

In Edythe’s apartment Vella puts on her onesie, bib, and bonnet. She met with the accompanist and picked out songs she knew by heart and is now supposed to practice. She watches BBC with Alvin instead, a segment about the royal family. “It’s only a matter of time before Harry will get married,” he says. “He’s got a girlfriend now.”

“I thought Harry wasn’t even Charles’s biological son.”

“I think the jury’s still out,” says Alvin, his voice suddenly grave and serious. “But I hope he is. For his sake, I hope he is.”

Downstairs, Vella stands by the piano, hands quivering, and waits for her cue. There are about eighty guests, and almost everyone is in a costume. The grandchildren are pirates, princesses, superheroes. The residents and their children are detectives, prima donnas. There is both a fat and a thin Elvis and a slew of bobby soxers in poodle skirts. Scanning the crowd, Vella sees that the female residents outnumber the men three to one, something she never realized before.

She muddles through Getting to Know You, missing some of the high notes, but then sings Hello! Ma Baby with surprising ease. The audience, at least, claps along and seems to enjoy themselves.

“Isn’t she marvelous?” says the accompanist into his microphone.

“You’re real nice, too, Mister!” replies Vella, in a Shirley Temple voice, and there is a smattering of applause. She wants to ham it up for the residents, especially Alvin, who has taken off his Nixon mask and now looks sad and distant. He looks as if he’s missed the memo: all dressed up in his Sunday’s best while everyone else is wearing something outrageous.

She sings Swanee and Accentuate the Positive and then a few show-tunes, the songs of her youth, the ones she used to audition with. At the end, the residents and their guests applaud loudly. Some of them, those who can, give a standing ovation. One resident wolf-whistles and then bellows, “You’re a chanteuse!”

Afterward, Alvin hugs her. He is Nixon again. “Any plans for after the show?”

“I can’t,” says Vella, still high from the performance rush. “Mummy says it’s past my bedtime.”

“I thought we could have tea.”

“Well, I guess that’s OK,” she says. “But put me on your Enemies List, and the deal’s off.”

Up in his apartment, Vella sips her tea and walks around. It’s the same L-shape as Edythe’s unit but looks more spacious and bright, with a butter-yellow sofa and a silk area rug. It looks more contemporary: a hanging flat-screen TV, an Apple laptop instead of Edythe’s clunky desktop. Throughout the room are old photographs: Alvin and his sons in swimming trunks, standing on a dock; Alvin wearing a dark blazer, his arm draped loosely around a woman’s bare shoulder. He looks confident, handsome, used to getting his way.

His expression in the pictures, along with the stylishness of the apartment, makes Vella nervous. She suddenly regrets having accepted his invitation to come up. She fears what the invitation is about. “You’re not having any tea?” she says.

“Can’t handle the caffeine this late in the day.” He picks up the photograph of him and the woman. “I used to be something of a Casanova,” he says.

“I can’t stay long,” she says. She sits down on the sofa. The tea is hot, but she drinks it fast. She thinks, briefly, of her neurologist appointment.

He sits beside her, puts his steady hand on her shaking one. Arrogant Casanova, thinks Vella. Arrogant, disgusting Casanova. Casanova with a girlfriend—her mother—in the hospital. Who the hell does he think he is? She prepares for him to lean in, prepares to have to push him off.

But then, just as quickly, he takes his hand away, digs out a Kleenex from his walker basket, greasy from the dinner rolls, and blows his nose. “What are we going to do about Edythe?” he says.

She breathes easy, feels like an idiot. She confused his body language. It’s consolation he is after, and she is happy to console him, to comfort him, like a daughter might. “She’ll get better,” she says, “or the same as before anyways. Back with you in this swanky apartment.”

“I can’t keep making trips to the hospital,” he says.

“Your sons’ policy?” She hates them all of a sudden. Selfish, insensitive sons out west while Alvin is here, bereft.

My policy,” he says, eyes welling up. “I wanted to tell your mother, but I was afraid of what it would do.” He begins to tell her what he was too afraid to tell Edythe. It is not a romantic relationship like it once was. No real conversations to be had. No real companionship. A long time coming.

Vella drinks the last of her tea and sets it on the oak coffee table. She has always imagined Alvin as a hapless bachelor, an undesirable schmuck, but that doesn’t seem right. Alvin appears more relaxed now, and she thinks it’s because he’s an expert at these break-up conversations. He’s had them before, with countless other women.

Then it strikes Vella that something doesn’t make sense. “My mother has deteriorated somewhat since moving here. But her difficulty speaking, understanding, all of that—that’s who she was when she arrived. That’s who she was when you two met.”

And even before he responds she already knows that that isn’t it, that she’s misjudged something else. What he tells her is that he and Edythe didn’t meet in Sunrise, that they met years ago, fell in love years ago. She chose Sunrise to be with him.

“No,” says Vella, automatically, as if correcting a dog’s bad behavior. And yet, looking at Alvin’s anxious, beseeching face, she believes him. She’s certain he is telling the truth.

“I fell in love with that Edythe,” Alvin says. “I’m in love with that Edythe.”

For a moment the tremors seem to have reached her throat, her vocal chords, and she feels unable to speak, unable to move her mouth and form words. But then, blood rushes to her head and the tremors quiet some. “I have to go,” she says.

“There’s no proof,” Alvin is saying, “if that’s what you want. I have no old photos of us, and just as well. It would break my heart to see me with Edythe when she was healthy.” He begins, all of a sudden, to sob, collapsing onto her like ragdoll.

“I have to go,” she repeats. “I have to go downstairs now.”

She stays off to the side, lingering by the hors d’oeuvres table and clutching a plastic plate full of shrimp. She has spilled some cocktail sauce on her bib. What she is thinking about is her ill mother at the hospital, about guilt-stricken Alvin in his apartment. She is thinking about herself, about ever-worsening tremors.

“Do you know babies cry with accents?” says a woman. “I just learned that the other day.” The woman is black-haired and beautiful, and Vella moves up her drink to hide the stain on her bib. In the back of her mind is her womanhood, tapping its foot, waiting to get started.

She will need to lower her standards, obviously. Maybe she’ll start dating preoccupied men who are too into sports. Maybe, briefly, she’ll be engaged to one of them. After it ends she will tell people, “I was engaged once, but the guy dumped me for his bowling ball.” Maybe she’ll date an alcoholic, or else become one herself. Get drunk at nine in the morning and say things like, “Well, it’s five o’ clock somewhere.” At the board meeting arranged by Dawn, Vella will become belligerent. “I’ll tell you when I’ve had enough,” she will drawl.

“You’re shaking,” says a man later. “You must still have all that adrenaline pumping. You sang great, by the way. Where are you working these days?”

“The Hilberry.”

“Ooh. I used to fantasize about dating an actress.”

“Did you?” Perhaps, after all these years, she can still be a munchkin.

“In this one dream I had—”

“You were fantasizing, weren’t you?”

“Dreaming, fantasizing.” He shrugs. “I fantasize in my dreams.”

“Ah,” she says. Her mind has wandered elsewhere, limped off elsewhere. “I do crossword puzzles in mine.”

She is thinking about her brief stint in Oz, how the tutor for the kids never assigned enough work, how when she returned to Detroit she had to repeat the third grade. She can’t remember how she found out—whether her parents told her or whether she just showed up and was sent to her classroom from the year before. What she remembers is being pulled aside that Thanksgiving and scolded by her Ukrainian aunt, her father’s sister, large as a bodybuilder. She remembers her aunt’s subsequent directive, voiced in fierce and halting English. And now, shrimp in trembling hand, sauce on bib, Vella can only feel like a botched clone of herself, an unanchored and kidnapped version, her real life having grown snowy and inaccessible like a daydreamed thought.

I (Jordan) wrote a version of ‘You Thrive Now’ four years ago after working as a telemarketer for a regional theater in Boston. At the time, the story was a way to record the wacky and horrible incidents that occurred in the telemarketing work environment. Between four years ago and last year, when I started writing the story again, my father’s Parkinson’s had progressed rapidly and he’d moved into a senior living facility. The story then became less about the protagonist’s job and more about her impending health issues as they related to her mother’s current health issues. Ultimately, the story became a collaboration between my brother Paul and me, arising from our shared experiences visiting our father, whose Parkinson’s continued to advance and who entered into a romantic relationship with another resident.