71. Older & Older.


 “C’est ma faute,” Madam Coulise repeated in tearful whispers as Marie prepared her for bed. The setting sun’s light danced through the curtains, teasing a wilting bouquet of flowers that needed to be changed. Marie made a mental note to take them on her way out.

Madam smiled through her tears. No one knew exactly how many years old this particular patient might be, but from her hunched, frail form Marie guessed she was in her seventies--at least. She had been found wandering the streets about two years ago, muttering and apologizing as always for her nameless crimes.

Just as Marie coaxed the sweet woman under her covers, someone knocked briskly at the door. Madam’s eyes widened in fright.

But it was a familiar face. “Bonjour, Marie!” A smiling face topped with curly red hair peered in through the doorway. 

"Cece! I didn’t realize you were scheduled today," Marie replied in French.

Cece smiled and glanced at Madam, who seemed less anxious now that she recognized her visitor. “No, I’m not scheduled, darling. But I have someone here who would very much like to meet our favorite patient.”