Everyone needs a nap now and then. This is a rare moment when my brother Michael decided to conk out. Usually I was the one who felt like going to sleep when I visited him at his group home. I could become animated though when I was able to interact with one of Mike’s housemates. Some could be very engaging. J___ was always happy to see me. He was hard of hearing and I always heard the whistling of feedback from his half-inserted hearing aid. It didn’t seem to bother him, though. He asked me questions in a voice that spoke the sound of sentences, with understandable inflections, but barely discernible words. I understood him more often than not. I asked him questions too, and we would have an exchange. It was satisfying connecting with J___. Some of Mike’s housemates were not responsive. Some were overly talkative. Some told me that I looked just like my brother. I hadn’t noticed the resemblance myself, but there must have been some truth in what they said; Mike’s friends generally said exactly what was on their minds.
I was usually wiped out by the time I took the long subway ride home from a visit. On occasion, I got a head start and kicked my feet up on a couch next to Mike’s.