My Collection Was Lost Forever.Submitted by electrictoothsyndrome at 2004-10-05 12:00:21 EDT
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Year: MCMLVII Edition: CCCV
I was feeling better today. The affliction that has kept me bedridden for the last week I think is starting to lift. Constance, my little girl, brought me applesauce and soup. I really don’t care for the soup too much, but I like the applesauce. She knows I like applesauce… but I don’t have the heart to tell her I don’t care for the soup.
When she was a younger, we used to have an orchard out behind our house. We would go out there on mid-summer days, dodging the flying insects to collect all the apples that had fallen the previous night. Her mother, Dora, would make everything – pies, cobbler, cider, applesauce, you name it! Everything was so much simpler then – not like it is now.
I read in the paper today that the Soviets put a dog into space. Laika, I think was its name. The story went on to say how the dog was ill, and might not make it… Constance told me that dog was already dead, but I guess I’ll find out for sure in tomorrow’s paper…
Year: MCMLXIII Edition: CCCXXVII
Outside the window in my family room I can see birds dancing on the lawn. Their chirping is my constant companion. It keeps me from thinking melancholy thoughts on otherwise perfect days. The family room is just not the same without a family in it. Constance and Danny have both moved away, but they still come back to visit me. I look forward to their visits… Dora says I am a better person on days when they visit, almost tolerable.
Danny stopped by earlier today to say ‘hi’, and help out with the cleaning. He’s always trying to help his mother any way he can. He’s such a good young man…I am so proud of him. He works as an accountant somewhere downtown…I forget the name of the place now.
I wish he would stay longer sometimes, but I guess everybody has someplace to be…maybe he was just too upset about what happened with Mr. Kennedy in Dallas today. I know it came as quite a shock to everyone. The newspapers all came out early, so I made sure to pick up a copy. I collect them because they might be worth something someday, and because they are like little 16-page time capsules full of memories. Dora says I’m crazy for keeping that garbage around, but she says that about everything…
Year: MCMLXIV Edition: XLII
I spent the better part of the morning today looking for my cat. She keeps wandering off, and when she does, I can never find her… I think Dora must have gone to the grocery early this week, because the house was empty when I got up. She left the Sunday paper on the table for me before she left, and I was reading about this rock and roll band ‘The Beatles’, and how everybody is in such an uproar over them.
Personally I don’t care either way, but Constance sure seems to be smitten. She visits me about everyday, and is constantly humming one of their tunes. I guess I can sort-of see why these youngsters find it hip, but I personally think they need to cut their hair. I can’t begin to understand how anyone, let alone someone in the public spotlight, could let their appearance just go that way.
The newspapers said they were from a modest upbringing somewhere in England, which could explain it. I just hope it doesn’t catch on. I know how impressionable these young people are now, and I sure would hate to see Danny start neglecting his appearance that way. He does still do a nice job helping his mother with the house cleaning though, so there might be hope for him yet…
Year: MCMLXIX Edition: CCLII
I did not feel well again this morning, but that never stops me from reading my morning paper. I read where those Manson hippies murdered some folks out in California…strange stuff! I just don’t see how anyone could allow their minds to get that far gone without some recollection of right or wrong.
Constance, when she visits, brings me a thousand and one different kinds of medicine for everything from my arthritis to my headaches. She always helps make me feel better. I know it’s hard for Dora to keep up with me all the time, so Constance is a big help.
Danny’s got a family of his own now and has a son named after me. I haven’t see my grandbaby in a while, but Danny still comes by two or three times a week to help with the cleaning. I just don’t see how, with all he has to do and how busy he is, he finds the time to come help Dora and me keep everything in order. He’s such a fine young man!
Year: MCMLXXIV Edition: CXVII
Today was rainy…I awoke to the sound of an ambulance screaming by.
I sat in bed much of the day. The TV was on but I wasn’t watching. There was a fly near the window, buzzing and crashing into the glass repeatedly. Up and down the entire length it flew, looking for a hole, looking for an escape…not understanding why something so lucid could be so hopelessly unattainable. Around the room it would fly, returning always to the window…crashing and buzzing.
Yesterday was my birthday. Constance and Dora brought me a cake and sang to me. Danny could not make it; he’s a very busy man. When he does come by now, it’s only to help with the regular cleaning, and then he leaves. He knows I love him though, and that’s all that matters…
I read in the paper that some people in China have discovered thousands of terracotta soldiers in what they believe to be the tomb of the first emperor of China. I tried to imagine what they must look like - these petrified effigies of men, immune to the passing of time - and the only face I could see was Danny’s…
Year: MCMLXXXIX Edition: CCCXXI
Read paper again today. I read the paper everyday. The newspaper is my constant companion. I read the Berlin Wall was just torn down. They had a picture in there too. Giant ant-like machines were eating away at its body. The aliens cheered. Bright lights flooded the forming holes like crystal snow flakes shooting off the page. They told me it’s all ok, but I knew it was a trick. I knew that as soon as I let down my guard they would come after me again. There is just no usefulness in tissues…
There is no balm in Gilead. Listen to me…there are only a certain number of soda cans in the world, and not everyone can walk round and round on their rims with cotton in their ears. Don’t even try it…their wings are swift and soft and their fury is forgetful.
People were rolling in the streets. Cars pushed in traffic. Did you know gasoline is made of sunshine? I’m sure you knew that. But now the sun speaks to me through holes in the Berlin Wall.
I had a dream last night that I had this really beautiful home in the mountains high above the towns and the bustle – far from the wedges the world drives between people. And we were all there…me, Dora, Constance…and Danny. Everything was different. All the things I never did, all the chances I never took, all the opportunities I missed to say, “I love you guys and I don’t know what I would do without you,” came easy. Never have I felt such overwhelming happiness as I did then. The troubles that plague us, the details that strangle us at every step of the way in our passage through time, were lifted like a new spirit from an old body…
And then I awoke, and none of it was real…
It is morning…a nurse is making the last of her rounds. The sun is yawning its gasoline-colored rays through the curtains across the room. A dead fly rests peacefully on the windowsill. She presses the intercom button on the wall. “Yea, you’d better come up here, please…”
“Ok, you ladies try to have a nice day, ok…” Two men wheel the gurney out of the room and toward the end of the hall where the back of a hearse lay in wait beneath a glowing exit sign.
One nurse is visibly upset. “It’s so sad. You’d think I’d be used to it by now…seeing them just go like that.”
“I know, honey, it’ll be ok. The man was sick, and he was 88 years old. He’s in a better place now.”
“I know, but this one was different. It was like he was part of my family. He always called me Constance, and he was so nice to me.”
“Wasn’t that his daughter?”
“Yea, she passed away years ago before the disease took over the rest of his mind.”
“It would be so awful to have your mind just stolen from you like that. It would be like you were losing your self…” the nurse stops and stares at the floor for a moment. “You know, it’s strange that you mention that, because he always called me Dora. Was that his wife or something?”
“Yea, it was.”
“I always wondered who he was talking about. Did he have any other family?”
“He had a son also, but I found out that he passed away too when he was younger. I think Willard was the only one left in his family.”
“It’s so sad.”
The nurses, leave the room wheeling the cart full of linens toward the laundry. The portable radio they carry with them plays “Hello, Goodbye” by The Beatles.
A janitor enters and throws away a collection of ragged old newspapers.
He begins to mop the floor…
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