I have been a people watcher for most of my life. I spend my days catching myself watching people. Walking, playing, sitting, but most of all I watch them eat. No I am not an unusual girl who has a weird fascination with people and food; I am a dietary aid at a Retirement Residence. I serve the food and watch it being consumed. However, it’s not the eating and digesting of the food that has me looking; it’s the people and how they interact with each other as they break bread. I fell in love with one couple in particular. They come in, I would give them their meal and they leave. There was something about their love for each other that fascinated me. It was a love like no other; it was true love and it was real. I believe that true love means growing old together.
As his body and soul slowly separated and his skin turned cold, his life slipped away and his heart came to a standstill. A middle aged man sitting beside him in one of those uncomfortable hospital chairs looked at the lifeless body and thought of how he had admired him since he was a young boy. He knew his father was finally at peace.
He stepped into the hallway and took a deep breath, his eyes filled with tears and his hands began to tremble. He knew what was coming, and he dreaded it terribly. Down the hallway and around the corner, lying in her very own hospital bed and unaware of the loss of her lover, was his mother. A fragile woman with grey hair and soft eyes she had arrived here weeks before her husband.
He walked at a steady pace down the hallway, it was late and not many people were around. As he approached his mother’s room he again took a deep breath and entered. This time there was no tears; no shaky hands, he had to be strong for her. He knew that she would be heartbroken just as his father was when she became sick. He suddenly became scared that she would not survive the news and would die of a broken heart, just as his father did. He slowly pulled back the curtain and his mother lie sleeping under a blue cotton blanket.
“Tomorrow.” He whispered softly and he quietly exited the room.
It was early in the morning and she awoke from her deep sleep. She was suddenly overwhelmed with the sensation of sadness and she wept softly and slowly drifted back to sleep, somehow knowing the news that would come to her with the rising of the sun. A nurse in bright blue hospital scrubs pulled back the curtain to give the woman her morning medication; however her fatigued body lay stilled and lifeless on the bed.
There was sadness in the air on the day of the funerals. The sky was dark and tomorrow felt like a decade away. The ceremony began with words of love, life and happiness. Their children spoke of their childhoods and how their parents expressed their love for each other. They told stories of family vacations and how hardships were overcome. I sat in the chapel and listened attentively and then I realized that they were together again and their love for each other was still strong.
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