Felicia can only remember her past in fragments, brilliant shards of memory that splinter off in her mind and form patterns that are beautiful, despite the fact that they do not touch. She is ninety, gray-haired and stooped, but her eyes are still the eyes with which she entered this world: bright and blue as the just-washed sky at dawn. It is as if her essence, her Felicia-ness, exists solely within those blue spheres. No one who looks into her eyes, young or old, can resist the chemistry of that gaze.

She speaks to those who would hear her stories. Some people dismiss her as an old babbling fool, but those who take the time to listen leave her presence with the gift of her insight.

“Love is so small it can fit through the eye of a needle,” she says with a smile, as she fingers the rose-petal beads of her rosary.

I am one of the nurses who attend her at night. Most of the time, I just sit and watch her sleep, fascinated even by the slow rise and fall of her ribcage, the play of dreams across her face.

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