Laid up in hospital, nothing to do, hopefully you will recover, the advice of the physician, the nurse who comes when your buzzer goes off, time to eat, time to take your medication. She is on a visit to see her grandfather. Down the corridor and second room to the left, she breezes along. A big smile is prepared before she enters the room, she wonders what form he will be in, he is a grumpy sort, but kind. Doesn’t fire but straight.
Hi she says, big smile on her face, she is wearing the obligatory mask, she pulls it aside while she bends to kiss him on the forehead, why are you wearing that he remarks, wheezing, nearly out of breath, the lungs not as strong as they used to be. He is approaching ninety, has been through the second world war, Korea, Vietnam, an army vet as the experience tells you.
We all have to wear them now, it’s the law.
It takes your mind off the other stuff he replies.
What do you mean by that she says. …
He drifts off to sleep, she leaves him to have the quite moment, she waits. He is in a dream, it’s not dreaming, he is a boy again, on summer retreat with friends, the two week camp they used to have during the summer break. Climbing walls, chasing cows, trying to climb the neighbors apple trees without getting caught, playing cowboys and Indians. She watches the expression change on his face, the array of smiles, what gives him the thrill, he is old, the life he lived, she can only imagine. Suddenly he wakes up, he is shocked to see her still there.
you must have been dreaming she says.
You have a smile on your face, I was watching you.
Oh that he says.
there was a time when…
Children played, they slept in the same bed, teenagers, went about together during the day, no anxiety, no stressed parents, no one anxious, no one concerned with predators, no thoughts such as these existed whatsoever. He rambles on. and water you could drink from the tap, that was till they modernized it all. He looks at her.
She thinks, old man, what does he know.
I think it’s time to go she says. She pushes her mask to the side, tips his forehead with his lips, see you soon she says, whatever he replies.
later, she retells the story of the visit to her sister, how was he she says. He will live to a hundred, but I didn’t like the creepy stares of the male nurse, he scared me. What do you mean.
Solomon sighed, the difference in the ages, and the imaginings in the mind. The stuff that is fed into them, and the anxieties that last forever. The virus was a topic of conversation all over the world. It refocused the minds on the living.