Licking My Wounds
Well, I met Alat the bus and as I was pushing him up the ramp, I told him I had a…
Well, I met Al at the bus and as I was pushing him up the ramp, I told him I had a big surprise for him. He didn’t say anything.
I got him inside and pushed him up to the waiting cars. He said,”Wow, are these for me?” I said yes and I know I was dancing like little pigs and I was smiling from ear to ear. He looked at them but didn’t touch any. I talked to him about them but he said nothing. I asked him if I could take his picture holding one and he said yes. I placed one in his hand and snapped the two photos above.
That was it, it was over, all done with , dance gone. I guess I am in denial. I expected the old Al. I want to pretend somewhere deep in my mind that he really isn’t that sick. He is just a little sick.
I thought I was adjusted, but I guess not. Al liked the cars, I am sure of it, but me, I crumbled inside because he wasn’t dancing that pig dance with me. There were no big grins or laughter, no spark in his eye. I asked him three times before I got that smile you see, and as soon as the snap was done, the smile left.
I pushed him to the new clock and he looked at it. He asked a couple of questions and then it was gone too.
I wanted to sit down and cry. I want my old Al back. I want to hear the chatter and the laughter again. I pushed him up to the table and he waited for his supper. I gave him Kiwi for the first time. He hesitated but he did eat it. I think he could take it or leave it. I had a pork chop and he is refusing meats unless they are mushy. He also doesn’t want me to puree them either. He says they look funny.
So he had a hot dog cut up with ketchup, mashed potatoes, cut-up tomatoes, and hominy. He ate the hominy, tomatoes and kiwi because he could use his fingers. He ate two bites of mashed potatoes but since he had to use silver ware, he gave up because he was too weak to use the utensils.
I was reading the Hospice book today on signs of someone in their last six months. I hated it so much that I recognized a few of Al in the symptoms. Al used to drink a lot, but anymore he drinks less than half of what I pour. His appetite is definitely down, which the book said thirst and appetite decline as the body does. It also said not to force them or to shame them if they don’t eat well.
After supper I asked him, “Do you want to go back over to the couch and play with your cars?”
“No, I want to brush my teeth and go to bed.”
Well that was that. Somehow I have got to get my mind in the right setting because I am sitting here licking my wounds expecting more but receiving less.
I guess I will look at the positive in this. He is here with me at home. He ate and drank some. He did the smile for the camera. He waved at me when he saw me from the bus when they were letting him down on the lift.
Did you see her walking by
A twinkle in her eye
The stride in her feet
Grabbing the ground to meet
I saw a glow from a far
I wonder who you are
What brings that smile I see
I want one for me
Please tell me who did this
To give the spring of kiss
I stop her in her track
And I tap her on the back
Please tell me I have to know
What gives you the golden glow
Oh this is easy to say my friend
What gives me this I will lend
It is such a piece of cake
I walked around the lake
I saw a group of people
They formed a sort of steeple
There was a man inside
Who had absolutely nothing to hide
He said please believe in my word
You can trust me he assured
I am the son of God
I have been here sent with my rod
To gather all around
To bow down to the ground
Please ask for your sins
To be let go to the winds
Then I will remain with you
I will help you in all I do.
Dahlia remained in the hospital for two more days, getting better and stronger. Everyone went back to school and doing what they did best, and in between, went to the hospital to
On the day that Dahlia was to be released, Drake was the one who was there waiting with open arms to walk her to the car and drive her home. All paper work filled out and signed, she was released and Drake and her walked arm in arm out the double doors.
Dahlia blinked several times as her eyes were adjusting to the light that she had not seen for some time. Then she noticed everything around her. Trees, dogs running, people walking to and fro from the parking lot. She was taking everything in and Drake smiled down at her and gave her a big hug and squeeze right there. He did not care who saw this, he was in love.
They walked slowly to the car, letting everything sink in that Dahlia was seeing as if for the first time. Getting into the car, she snuggled close to Drake and they drove home. When they entered the front door, they were welcomed home with cheers and bright home-made banners that said Welcome Home Dahlia. Everyone went to her and hugged her and told her how happy they were to have her back home, and to be able to see, what a miracle God had performed. Rachel led them all to the kitchen, where the girls had baked a welcome home cake and there was iced-tea and punch. They all filled their plates and sat around the table talking about all that had happened the past week.
Then the conversation pointed towards the menu that should have been started a few weeks ago. Dahlia and Drake looked at each other and gave each others hand a squeeze, and Drake commented that he was so happy right now, he didn’t care what they had to eat that day, as long as he was pronounced married. They all laughed but Rachel brought it back to reality and said the guests would be disappointed if they came to a wedding and had nothing to eat, so we need to start planning
It was going to be a small wedding, and held outdoors, and so they were going to have more of a festive buffet style, comfortable and easy. So together with everyone’s talents being included, they decided on ham sandwiches, but on bread with the crust cut off, to make them a bit more festive. Some were going to make salads, including potato salad, a pea salad, and coleslaw. Others were going to make their special deviled eggs. There was going to be fresh strawberries, and slices of watermelon. Sue offered to make her famous whipped salad, that had pieces of apples, grapes, and pineapple, with tiny nuts, all wrapped around a whipping cream. The neighbor, whose specialty was baking beautiful cakes, had offered to make their wedding cake as a gift. There would be punch with ice-cream floating in it, iced-teas, and coffee served.
Dahlia said that she wanted to speak and everyone hushed for a short time. Dahlia went on to explain how thankful she was for the day that Rachel and Ralph took her in, and helped give her a start of fulfilling her dream of becoming a teacher. She told them all that she felt so close to each of them, and she was so happy she was a part of this family. Dahlia continued to say a big thank-you to each of them for being there with her and for her while she was in the hospital, and everyone smiled as they agreed with all she was saying. Ralph spoke up and said that they were so happy that she was going to be an official part of their family, and that Drake had made an excellent choice. With all of the cheering and thanking and praising God for sight, the welcome home party dwindled down, and they all stood up, with each having their list of duties they would perform for the food at the wedding.
One month to go and the big day would be here. School was starting to wind down with the hard labor of learning and home work. Spring was in the air and trees were starting to show buds on their naked branches. The smell of spring was to be admired by all who walked the sidewalks of town.
Dahlia returned to school and the miracle of Dahlia’s eye sight coming back was the whispers of the school. Each class she went to , everyone clapped and hugged her, and the talk of her was what started each class off.
When she entered the dance class, the teacher was waiting for her as she entered the door. The teacher gave her the biggest hug of all, Dahlia thought. The teacher had tears of joy in her eyes, as she welcomed Dahlia back. Dahlia was able for the first time to see the big dance room, with all the bars and the shiny floor. She was introduced to the student she had been working with , and Dahlia leaned in and gave her a big hug and told her how beautiful she was.
That day flew by and Dahlia felt like she was Cinderella for the entire day. Classes continued and soon one day slipped into the next, and the days ticked by quickly, with school coming closer to an end, graduation coming, and then the wedding.
Exams were starting to be put together by all of the teachers. Students were going into the office to make final plans for further studies or new jobs. Everyone seemed to be in a great humor as one door was beginning to close and another one starting to open.
On weekends, families started going to the parks, picnics were being seen. People could be seen walking more and more as people were coming out of their cocoons of winter. Dahlia and Drake spent every free moment together. They wrote their wedding vows and practiced saying them to each other, until each of them had them memorized. The rings were picked up and the flowers were checked on to make sure of the date they would be delivered. Dahlia went into the dress shop and took a last peek at her wedding dress, that was hanging in the back waiting for her to come get it. Drake made sure that his suit was still waiting for him.
One afternoon Drake and Dahlia walked over to the neighbor’s house and checked in to see if all was going as planned with the cake. They were told that it would be a white cake, two tiers high, with lots of red roses surrounding the edges. It sounded beautiful. As they left her house and walked down the street, Drake stopped Dahlia and took her in his arms and gave her a big kiss. Dahlia interrupted and said not here, Drake, out in the open for all to see? Drake answered back, he didn’t care, he wanted everyone to know how he felt about her. He hugged her and kissed her again, and then let her go and together, the two walked hand in hand back home.
Morning came, with dew remaining on the ground. Dahlia was woken by the tapping on her shoulder. She blinked her eyes open and guarded them with her hands from the sun. Opening them all the way, she stared up into the eyes of an old lady. The lady was tapping her again, asking her if she was alright, why was she out here all by herself. Dahlia jumped back a bit, startled by the stranger. She rubbed her eyes, trying to focus on what was happening.
Suddenly she remembered why she was here, she had been taken advantage of and had left her nice home. She remembered leaning her head on the tree, and now she realized she had fallen asleep and it was now daybreak.
She looked at the lady again, and murmured that she was alright. There was no broken bones or blood, she had just got too tired to continue her journey. The lady asked her what journey she was making and Dahlia said nothing, because it hit her that she had no plan, but to escape.
The old lady, named Ruth, took her hands and helped her to her feet. She told Dahlia that she would take her home with her, that she didn’t look like she had eaten, and she could use some cleaning up. Dahlia didn’t hesitate, and moving like a robot, she followed the directions being given to her. Together, the two of them walked back in the direction of where Ruth lived, neither of them saying too much.
Ruth’s house was not that far from Dahlia’s house. Dahlia judged that it was about two blocks on the other side of her school she had attended. Once the two ladies got inside the house, Dahlia began to take in her surroundings. Noticing that there was not much, but the house was clean, and their was a warmth to the rooms.
Ruth led her to the kitchen table, and began to prepare some eggs along side with some bacon. She poured her a stiff cup of black mud, and told her to sit down and eat, and after she had finished, she would show her to the spare bedroom where she could rest, and would show her the bathroom. Ruth stated that this wasn’t much, here at the home, but it was paid for and it was hers. Dahlia smiled, and picked at her breakfast, her nerves still on edge from the day before.
Ruth sat across from her watching her eat, thinking she sure was a picky eater. If that had been her own breakfast, she would have wasted no time getting the food down. Ruth asked her where she was from and without thinking, Dahlia said that she lived two blocks on the other side of the school. She caught herself, and stopped giving any information. She was supposed to be leaving this area. She didn’t want anyone to know where she lived. She picked up her speed a little, forcing the food to go down, so the questions would stop.
After the last bite was gone, Ruth stood up and took the dirty dishes to the sink, and led Dahlia to the bathroom and spare bedroom. Dahlia said the bedroom looked very cozy and Ruth nodded in agreement. She said this was where her granddaughter used to sleep when she would visit here at granny’s house, but now she was all grown up and had kids of her own.
Dahlia asked if it was alright to take a bath. She was anxious to remove all remnants of last evening, to scrub herself until her skin shined. She wanted to put clean clothes on and just lay down and rest.
When Ruth heard that Dahlia was in the tub, she sneaked over in to the spare bedroom and went through the bag, trying to find any information about this poor girl who seemed lost and so sad. She discovered without much effort, some books, and inside the books were her name and her address,along with a phone number, that said please call to return this book to its owner.
Ruth went to the phone and quietly called the number. Rachel answered the phone, and when Ruth said who she was and why she was calling, she could hear the lady on the other end of the phone praising God for delivering her missing boarder back to her.
Ruth explained how Dahlia seemed upset, and how her clothes looked and that she could tell that something was terribly wrong. She just knew that Rachel would be worried. Without any hesitation, Rachel told Ruth that she and her husband would be over in no time at all, and to not let Dahlia escape from her house.
Ruth quickly laid the phone in its cradle, and walked into the kitchen, looking through her ice- box to see what she would fix the two for lunch. Soon, Dahlia came to stand in the doorway, and announced that the bath felt so good, and that she was very thankful to Ruth for offering her home. She said that she would lie down if it was alright, and then after resting, she would be on her way. Ruth said nothing, but let her go rest.
Ruth then went to her rocker and turning on the television and keeping the voice low, she watched her programs waiting for this Rachel lady and her husband to show. She wondered what kind of people they were that what ever had happened would make this poor girl want to run away from home.
In no time at all Ruth heard a door knock at and getting up from her rocker she went to open the door, and there stood the nicest looking people she could have ever wished for. What ever was going on with the girl, these two lovely people could have had anything to do with it.
Ruth invited them in and offered the two of them one of her nicest smiles. She turned the television off, and offered them the sofa to sit down on. Immediately the questions came. Where did you find her, what time did was it when you discovered her? Ruth slowly told Rachel and Ralph about how she was out taking her morning walk. At her age she had to do what she could to keep the body from stiffening up, and with laughter, she pointed to her creaky knees. Rachel and Ralph smiled at Ruth, seeing what a kind old lady she was, and thanking God that she had the sense to call them. They continued to chat, Rachel explaining that Dahlia was a boarder at her house and that she was attending the school close by, and was being educated for a dance instructor. Seeing something out of the corner of her eye, she looked up to see Dahlia standing in the doorway.