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J C Howard

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Love Everlasting
By J C Howard
Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Rated "G" by the Author.

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           >> View all 29


It is never too late to say the words, I love you-

 

Today started like every other day at Lake View, except that it was a Wednesday. Nurses and aides bustled about, the muffled roar of a television was easily heard from the back of the main dining hall and Zeke, a graying old yellow Retriever, sat sunning himself in the foyer, lying near guests, comforting them as they left.
 
“Games at 2 o’clock,” resounded the volunteer’s cheery voice over the loud speaker. “Join us for some fun today.” Wednesday is bingo day. Everyone loved bingo, everyone except Edwin that is.
 
Edwin was a confirmed bachelor, and disliked bingo almost as much as he disliked “the weaker sex.” Except for Mona and unfortunately for Edwin, Mona loved bingo. Bingo was an imbecile’s activity, but every Wednesday he found himself daubing numbers in little rows and columns, just to be close to Mona. He treasured being near her, her petite voice completed his heart, while his head filled with her delicate perfume, reminding him of his mother’s rose gardens.
 
At precisely at 1.50 pm, every Wednesday, Edwin took one last look in the mirror, as he slowly licked his two first fingers to wipe back a few stray hairs on his balding head before leaving his room. This had been Edwin’s habit for almost seven years, but today his mind was consumed with thoughts of Mona. With eyes cast downward in earnest concentration, mindlessly he crashed into the lunch cart still left in the hall.
 
Like a drunkard, he staggered, but his old wobbly legs couldn’t find balance and he fell with a sudden crash, knocking his head squarely on the corner of the massive metal box. As he thudded to the floor, Maeve rushes over, “Mr. Melton! Mr. Melton! Are you all right laddie?” Crouching down, she immediately sees blood oozing from above his eyebrow, where an unsightly gash now resided. In her strong Irish accent, she repeats, “Mr. Melton! My God man, are you O.K.?” Residents craned their necks from around their room doors to inspect the commotion.
 
“Man down,” hollers one of the male residents. “Send for backup. We gotta’ man down.” He yells again.
 
“Thank you Captain, but we’ll take it from here.” Edwin was limp; his frail body lay lifeless on the stained carpeted floor. Maeve tenderly props him up against the wall. “Randa, bring me a compress dear, he’s bleeding a wee bit here. Mr. Melton, wake up dear. Mr. Melton, wake up.” Maeve continues to gently urge him until he begins to rouse.
 
“What in damnation is going on here?” Edwin chokes out. The screech of a siren could be heard, getting louder as it bore down on Lake View.
 
“Easy does it Mr. Melton, you’ve taken a bad fall laddie.”
 
“What’s happened?” Edwin grumbles as he shifts his weight to sit up. “I can’t see a damn thing! Where are my glasses?” 
 
“You’re bleeding a bit Mr. Melton. You can’t see because the blood has run into your eye. Let’s clean you up and get this compress on your forehead.” Maeve wipes the blood from his eye and places the gauze across his eyebrow. They slowly stand, as Randa brings in a wheelchair, Edwin collapses into it exhausted.
 
It seems the ambulance had arrived, its siren still blaring. Seeing that Edwin would survive and hearing the commotion, Maeve quickly wheels Edwin back to his room. “Let’s take a closer look at that cut me’ boy.”
 
“I hear that blasted ambulance. No hospitals for me! And that’s final. Patch me up and let me out of here! I gotta’ get to bingo! ” Edwin cusses at bit, then settles down as Maeve cleans and closes the laceration with butterfly adhesives.
 
Maeve smiles at her handiwork. “Now suppose you best rest a bit before heading off to bingo, ‘eh, Mr. Melton?” Maeve chides.
 
“Sorry, but bingo’s cancelled today and all residents are to remain in their rooms until 3:30pm, allowing staff time to complete their rounds,” comes the command of the charge nurse as she moves from room to room.
 
Edwin puffs his cheeks in disappointment, but before Maeve made it to the door to leave, she hears his gentle snore. 
 
Mona’s rose perfume fills Edwin’s room. Inside his door, she tiptoes to the chair near him. Her heart pounds in the dark room, as she suddenly feels a desire to lie close and comfort him. Then as if the world was a void, unexpectedly the words, “I love you Edwin,” slip from her quivering lips.
 
To her surprise, Edwin’s eyes gently blink open as he begins to stir. “Mona, is that you?” But before Edwin fully awakes, Mona’s shadow is gone.
 
Outside in the hall, Mona winces and disappears into the foyer where old Zeke struggles through his arthritis to lie at her feet. 
 
In the dim corner of the room, Mona’s eyes glisten with loneliness. Zeke whines and leans his head on her hand, then lies down to comfort her. She misses everything already. With sad resolve she quietly walks back into his room, “Edwin, my family has come for me,” she murmurs.
 
The room is silent, but filled with thoughts of rose gardens. Edwin turns toward Mona; he sees her outline. “Is it too late to say I love you?”
 
“It’s never too late, to say I love you. But I still have to go,” she sadly smiles.
 
“But you can’t go.” He moves, but feels a weight pressing down on his chest.
 
“I’ve already gone Edwin. The ambulance was for me, but I had already left this world. My mother and father and many old friends are waiting for me now.” Her voice was weak, “I love you Edwin. I’ll wait for you Edwin.”
 
Zeke slowly hobbles in and with a soft whine, gently leans his head on Edwin’s hand hanging from the edge of the bed, slightly cool, now slightly grey. The scent of roses still linger. Zeke lies down to comfort Edwin, as he leaves…to meet “his first love.”

 

 

 


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Reviewed by JMS Bell 2/20/2012
MY FATHER USED TO ALWAYS SAY....'ONE NEVER KNOWS WHAT HAPPENS BETWEEN THE STRIRRUP AND THE SOD...' MEANING, 'DEAD' TO US...IS NOT 'DEAD'. WELL DONE AND ENJOYED. THANKS FOR SHARING. LOVE, BLESSINGS AND FAITH...JOYCE * HIS INSPIRATIONS
Reviewed by Michael Hollingsworth 2/12/2012
"Love Everlasting" is a great title for this well written lovely story. A quote of mine: "Human love is to devote a part of ourselves to the providence of another existence. To be without this devotion is to be void of love."
Reviewed by Paul Mc Cann 2/5/2012
Love is just a four letter word but for some its very hard to say .I work in aged care and often I get I love you from people who suffer with dementia . So why can't normal people learn how to say I love you more often ?
Reviewed by baz busbe 2/1/2012
Oh such a beautiful moving story. So glad that they at last were to be together. Bless edwin for going to bingo every week that must have been true love. Nice touch with the faithful sensitive old dog, I often wonder if they know things that we don't. God bless. Baz
Reviewed by Laurel Lamperd 1/28/2012
What a sad sad story, JC. I was hoping that Edwin discovers that Mona hates Bingo too, and only went to see him. No wonder every tale is different. Thanks for reading my story.
Reviewed by Janice Scott 1/27/2012
Lovely story, JC, but really sad. You almost had me in tears, but I particularly like the hope portrayed in the ending.
Reviewed by Albert Megraw 1/27/2012
Delightfuly told story JC I enjpyed it a great deal. Thanks and may 2012 be a great writing year for you. Albert
Reviewed by Annabel Sheila 1/26/2012
Completely delightful heartwarming story of a beautiful love!!!! I enjoyed every single word of this beautifully written tale....Awesome!!!

Anna
Reviewed by Regis Auffray 1/25/2012
Truly a compelling story, JC; moving and meaningful. Thank you for sharing. Love and best wishes,

Regis
Reviewed by Morgan McFinn 1/25/2012

Very touching story, JC. You have a wonderfully tender imagination. No doubt where that emanates from.

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