"Yep," I smiled. We sat at the bar and finished our Cokes.

"Is my dad going to die?" she asked. I thought about how to address this question. I'd already left out the part about how he would eventually be completely unresponsive to anyone, which is the especially cruel way that the disease plays itself out in the end.

"Alzheimer's will not kill your dad," I told her, which was probably true. "He has lived a long, good life, though, and he is in his 80s. Some day he will die, just like everyone." She nodded.

"We better go catch BART," I said.

She jumped up and we headed outside. She had a slight smile on her face, so apparently my awkward attempts at answering her questions didn't devastate her. I had a sense, deep down, that she just wanted to know the truth. Her mother has been trying to protect her feelings. Not knowing what was happening, not understanding, had been far harder for her, though. How do you describe something that is difficult for everyone, even people who don't have disabilities, to understand? Dang. Well, I did the best I could.

"Let's go to See's again," she said, right as we were about to head down into the subway.

"Great minds think alike," I replied, praying for a toffee or perhaps something with nuts.

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