Now now, that cloud looks like a rabbit don’t you think? And that one looks like a castle suspended in air! Oh I can spend hours just staring into the open sky, foolish we are trying to make sense out of everything when in reality all we need to do is let our mind wander and it will find what it needs to. “Okay now everyone slowly turns to their right and supports themselves up with their right hand”, instructs the yoga guru. Following his instructions we sit in the cross-legged position and practice breathing the final stage of our yoga class. All of us anticipate the delicious breakfast which will be served to us following the end of the class; I open my left eye and look around to find people doing the same as they try to communicate through their eyes. There is always a bet on what will be served for the meals, the winner gets to boss others around for a day, and it is this little thing between us that the authorities know nothing about. A bell rings signaling the end of the class, we fold our mattress and walk to our respective quarters so as to change and meet in the canteen in time.
As I walk to my room, my ears nest the sounds of the chirping birds, an old couple conversing, a tap running in the room I pass by and a light rustle of leaves. A bright new day it is, and I feel the happiness bubbling inside me as with new day comes more opportunities to stay happy, as you get to breathe through another day, more chances to rise and fall and hope to go on. I open the door and a woody scent fills my nostrils, how I can never get used to it! I see my old man lying on his bed covered in a white blanket, his eyes were admiring the white ceiling where rests a fan. I tip toe towards him so as to not break his moment and slowly plant a kiss on his forehead, he smiled or maybe I assume he did since that is the image I will hold of him always, his eyes crinkling at its end as he showed his teeth in its glory. Oops! I forgot my old man prefers to stay quiet and hear me chatter all day long, these men I tell you, they don’t talk much and when we do just to fill the silence that is, they will say “women talk too much”! Beep beep beep, Agrhh I can never be alone in the room with my old man, with him comes his friends those devices that make annoying sounds. While picking out an outfit from the wardrobe that rests in the far end of the room, the only piece of furniture except for two beds and one chair, I narrate to him the events that occurred throughout morning not that there was much to say, all the content of my speech could easily fit in two words ‘same old’ but I know my old man likes to hear me repeat things day after day even though he has it memorized. It was him who taught me to see something new in the same old,’ there has to be’ he used to say. Long ago it seems when I last heard him speak whereas in reality it is just two years that my old man has been demanding this royal treatment wherein he lays in bed all day long, spoon fed and sponged by the nurses, sometimes I do it too when talking does not wear me out, isn’t that the best way to put your ageing lethargy?
I hear a knock on the door and soon a nurse appears from behind the door, I feel a knot in my gut, I don’t see the smile on her face that is vibrant instead I see a smile that reads “I am sorry”. “The doctor wants to see you”, she said. Scurrying my way past her I rush to the doctor’s office which is a block away. I was preparing myself that was it, I thought, my heart drumming inside my chest as I entered his office.” Oh hello Mrs.Helmer”, he greeted. “Cut the greetings doctor, it is time isn’t it?” I cut him. “I am afraid that it is not the way you put it, but somewhat like it. It has been two years now, there is no progress, he is not responding to the medicines. His body is alive just because the machine supports it, the minute you switch it off he dies. Also we need the machines to accommodate other senior citizens and this old age home can only support two such patients. “The doctor continued. “I understand, you can send the nurses in an hour”, I say with a lump in my throat.
Once in my room I take the chair and sit near the head of his bed, I tell him everything about what happened back in the doctor’s office. And only silence greets me,” I have to let go” I whispered into his ears. Out of nowhere I recollect what he once told me,
“It is okay to let go, it is okay to smile, it is okay to open your fists, it is okay to move on. I reside in your thoughts; you do not need my physical presence to keep them alive. My strong woman who is so naïve, give your life a chance to humor you and look up you will always see a star shining on you.”
“I love you my old man”, I say when they take his corpse out of the room.