Florida was so depressing, it made Emily think of senior citizens. A place where grandparents came to wait for death to arrive. It was cluttered with strip malls, Olive Gardens, & early bird specials. When she was younger they used to take a trip every spring break to visit Zellie and her grandfather Elliott. She actually enjoyed it back then, loving to play shuffleboard at the clubhouse and swimming in one of the many retirement community pools. Zellie would ride a gigantic purple trike with a large wire basket. They would take turns riding in the back as Zellie peddled them around the parking lot. She hummed and giggled as she rode in giant circles. Her white curls frozen in the wind, freshly sprayed and tight from a day at the beauty parlor.
Zellie cooked elaborate meals. There was always four kinds of cereal, pink ruby red grapefruits sprinkled with granulated sugar and topped with a maraschino cherry, pastries, cottage cheese, eggs, and bagels. Her finest custom china and floral teacups lined the table. They were all so delicate and unique, each one with its own motif.
But it wasn’t like that anymore. Elliot had past away and six months ago Zellie moved from assisted living to Rustling Pines Nursing home. She was still feisty and sharper then most twenty- three year olds, but she was frail and in need of full time care. Emily made various trips to visit them while they deteriorated. To help them shop at the market, to move them out of the condo at Tilford K, and to take them to Legal Seafood when Elliot couldn’t remember if they were in Boston or in Florida. It was sad and depressing, but Zellie was always Zellie no matter what.