In reflection, I recognize the lost week and morphine delusion changed me. Facing death and abject terror will do that. I found myself pondering the meaning of old. I understood the physiology—our parts wear out. But I had given little thought to the philosophy of aging—purpose, life interests, relationships. We live with assumptions. I was certain falling in love was the province of youth.
I returned to Woodland Garden following two-months away. Residents welcomed me warmly; Norma and I resumed evening chats in the library. I realized how much I had missed her.
One morning we joined a dozen or so residents in the lobby for the daily mail wait. Spirits were high. The mailman finally arrived and we moved toward the mailboxes arrayed on the wall opposite the elevator. Norma reached her box just ahead of me and retrieved a fistful, mostly advertising. She flipped through the brochures, then, fitting the group’s light mood, she kissed me and turned to the elevator.
Something walloped me. I elbowed to the mailboxes. My arthritic fingers finally got made the small key work. I and I dug out my mail and driven by a compelling desire to hold Norma and tell her I loved her, I hurried to the elevator, hoping to catch her. I punched third floor, exiting at the library. Norma was gone.
I dared knock on her door, so I grabbed a book and sat two hours pretending to read, hoping librarian Norma would appear. The emotional surge persisted. I returned to my apartment frustrated. Lunch held no interest, nor did the afternoon routine.
Mid-afternoon I returned to the library and puttered. Time dragged; evening came. I returned to the apartment but sleep was out of the question. To vent my feelings, I fired up the computer and began a mushy love letter, fully intending to delete it.
Stay tuned for the rest of the story.
Old Grandpa Lloyd