One Moment of JoyPosted: October 15, 2016 | |
Tracy watched the old man slowly navigate the corridor of the Rome Hill Nursing Facility. He leaned alternately on the hallway’s handrail and his cane. As he moved, slight winces of pain from his arthritic hip crossed his face.
“Why does he even bother to visit her? She doesn’t even know who he is any more and it’s obvious he is barely mobile himself.” Tracy asked to Rose at the nurses’ station.
Tracy was a young 20-something certified nursing assistant who loathed her job and the patients she “served”, but thought it was better than the McJob she filled before.
Rose, a compact, sturdy black woman 30 years her senior replied, “Honey, one of these days you’ll understand. That’s love child.”
Eloise Watson was seated in her chair, facing out toward the window, when Hank, her husband of 62 years, entered the room.
He stood, steadying himself on the doorframe, and said with his deep voice and with a broad smile, “Eloise?”
El turned her head at his announcement. “Do I know you?”
It was the same routine every morning. Hank had long ago stopped being hurt by it.
“Oh, we’ve met a time or two. I thought I’d come to visit you.”
With that, Hank sat on the chair next to her’s. “Oh, I don’t remember you, but I do like visitors.”
“You look so pretty today.” Hank meant it. When he saw her he could see everything she is, everything she ever had been. In her now dimming blue eyes he still saw the vibrant woman he fell in love with, shared a life with.
“Well, thank you!” was El’s enthusiastic reply. It wasn’t every day a gentleman with such manners would tell you you’re pretty.
“I thought I might read you a story. Would you like that?”
“Oh, yes, I love stories. My eyes can’t read the way I used to.”
Hank pulled the worn book of short stories from his pocket and picked her favorite – he always read the same one. It had been her favorite since her teens and it made her laugh and smile. She never remembered from one day to another, so he always read her favorite.
“I asked him one day,” Rose related to Tracy, “why he always seemed so happy. Happiest man I ever seen. He tole me his whole life his greatest joy was just making ‘his El’ smile and laugh. He said now he gets to do it every day.”
And they could hear Eloise laughing down the hall.