The Ambulance Comes (and goes)
So many, so very many ambulances have come amongst my clientelle this year, I have lost count. The lovely chef, the woman who is all heart and no stamina summoned one in the middle of the night after two very busy days in which she went out and about and had two glorious meals with family and friends. Not so bad, all in all. It likely passed the ambulance bringing the Word Smith home.
With delight, I noted he was back on my schedule, home from the Hospital. He is frailer all the time, and breathing is more difficult each subsequent week, but he isn't rolling over just yet. I am one of the people he remembers, although not by name. He always raises his arm in a salute saying: "Hail Petronius." The retort I am expected to give has not yet been perfected.
"I am a Wordsmith" he said to me.
This is how we now communicate.
He remembers that I love words and admire his craft and lore. He remembers that I love to hear his stories. I adore him. I adore his wife as well, but she is not my client. She gets so little time off from her fulltime care of him. Today it will just be the hour that I am with him. Although he is not well enough to get up today, and his personal care takes all of 8 minutes, including the washing of his dentures, I take my time and sit on the edge of the bed.
Today, I cheat and ask him of his love for his wife. The Wordsmith would have to be in a coma before that story would fail delivery.
"Five year I adored her from afar. Five years and then destiny took a hand."
This story I could tell you by heart, I have heard it so often. I sit there staring into his cloudy eyes, past the glaucoma and into the dancing lights. He is barely able to stay upright, but the love story is laid out for me none the less. That adoration he has, that abiding adoration for his wife meets you at the door. It is a home full of peace and love.
The Wordsmith has come home to die. He knows it, we know it.
He is scared but not terrified. He just does not want to leave his beloved.
After the end of the stories, and my one hour visit, I bid him adieu.
He kissed my hand as I left.
That is the first time ever for that.
It was a goodbye kiss, I know that.
Just in case we do not again meet.