He sifted through old pictures on the small wooden table. Some Polaroids, others were black and whites. He went through em one at a time looking at faces; none were familiar to him. They were just faces. Women in beehive hairdos, men wearing hornrimmed glasses, hair parted to the sides, sideburns lined the young jawlines. A long time ago, he thought. These pictures are ancient, the old man said out loud.
And, maybe they were. Time strips away memories. He couldn’t remember his wife who’d gone before him. Or, the sons and daughters that visited him on Sundays at the nursing home. He was told he had grand kids; never recognized em. They’d all come to see him and he would just sit there with a blank look on his lined face. A look of confusion, anger, never calm. There was always something ticking in his mind. It was disbelief. No longer believing the physical. No more trusting of his touch.
The old man would sit in his wheelchair and wait. Wait to be pushed down the halls. He liked to go on rides. When he was younger he’d take the family on rides in their old Impala. They’d ride throughout the Midwest on full blown Autumn days. Looking out windows at trees, stopping for ice cream cones, counting mile markers; this was how weekends were spent. There were pictures of the old Impala, he’d just sift em through with the rest of the pics. Not really looking. No smile came to his face.
He’d look ’round at the other patients. And one thing he knew was, we’re all old, he’d think to himself. All of us are old. And we can’t remember how we got here, he’d say.
Beers on Saturday nights at the VFW were now replaced with chocolate pudding in the dining hall; being fed one bite at a time by a middle aged black woman with a tattoo on her arm that said, BLESSED. Blessed, he ran his fingers over the word; sounded it out. That’s right sweetie, the aid said, you are blessed.
Maybe he was. Maybe we all are. Blessed; by whom?