Submitted by John L. Lincicome.
Deaf in her left ear, she sleeps on her right side. Understandable. Her life has morphed from what it once was, into something new. Better or worse is up for grabs.
There’s somethin’ about the way her mouth is, as she lay there. Somethin’ akin to a smile or a silent happy. It’s good to see her that way, and to imagine that she’s dreamin’ good stuff. Happy stuff. Afterall –
Her life is not as she once knew it. She’s not as young as she once was. The pendulum of life silently swept her then’s into now’s. Happens to all of us. No one is immune from the time thing.
Many of those she once loved, and was returned the gift of love by, have gone to wherever folks like that go. Wherever “dead” is. She rarely speaks of them, though now and again she’s been known to succumb to the remember thing in an out-loud sort of way. Her eyes will glisten for several beats as she tells a story that’s dear to her, when she’s lucid, the sort of story that the listener knows not to interrupt. The sort of story she’s told me a hundred times before, and will a hundred times more. Aging isn’t for the snippy of heart. Fact is…
She knows she’s losin’ her cookies. It hurts her so to know it, when the know visits her. She self-medicates. It’s her way of coping. Who’s to say what’s right or wrong for another human being? For now…
She’s asleep on the couch, the television and reading lamp are on, the shadows play nice with her feature as she lay there. Somehow the kindness that’s anchored in her soul is silently, subtly, quietly, beautifully illuminated for my eyes alone to see.
She’s partially covered by her favorite blanket. One of her legs goes one way, the other another. Her head resting on a couch pillow, her canine love resting his head upon her. Neither are aware that I’m there.
Her thick and beautiful hair naturally highlighted with bown’s and golds and greys and shadows is all a muss, tangled here and there, and it frames her face in an awfully pretty sort of way. There’s a small collection, a small tuft of her hair layin’ across her forehead, encroaching her closed, left eye. I want to move it, but fear I’ll awaken her. Her breathing all but perceptible, mine measured by the circumstance.
I met her close to 40 years ago. We were young. Had a fling. She moved away to Hawaii after that, not because of it, because of the fling. Wasn’t like that. She left to seek her fame and fortune. Found neither.
As she told me the story, she came back a few years later, not empty handed. A little bit older, a little bit wiser, a little bit disillusioned. A little bit larger, a little bit smaller, but, still quite happy and not prey to the sad thing. Anyway…
In the 40 years that had passed, our paths never crossed again, until they did a fat two years ago.
The moment comes when, compelled by emotion, I lean over and gently shift the tuft of hair from her forehead and kiss the spot where it once lay. The act alerted her canine love. He looked me a look with both eyes, then settled back as I stood upright once again.
I left the television & lamp on. Left the space, left a piece of my affection on her forehead. She said nothing. She heard nothing. Pfft. The woman is deaf in one ear, eh?
John L. Lincicome lives in Tacoma and you can read more Kid Life stories on the You Know Your From Lakewood, WA If… Facebook Page. The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.