Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: See (07/22/10)
TITLE: Love is not Blind
By Cindy Barclay
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Sighing with relief, Chuck realized Marilyn, or Maggie as he fondly called her, was still sleeping. Slipping out of bed, he headed down to the kitchen for strong coffee and peaceful solitude. He was startled to see in the hallway mirror, an elderly man with thinning, white hair staring back at him.
Pouring the black brew, he plopped wearily on the couch. He was tired of this battle with Maggie. Memories intruded, recounting the time cancer had claimed his wife of thirty years. Darkness and loneliness had become his constant companions. Friends finally convinced him to attend a senior’s dance.
His eyes were drawn immediately to a beautiful, vivacious woman. Someone introduced them and the next thing he knew, he had Marilyn in his arms, sweeping her around the dance floor. Laughing and talking all evening, he left with a new spring in his step.
He startled. “Was that crying? He cringed, unready for her awakening. Relieved, he realized the sound was outside. He yanked back his memories and wrapped them around like a warm blanket. His Maggie was effervescence in action. She made him feel alive again. When they realized everything was better together, they married.
Panicked screaming interrupted his reverie.
“Where am I? Where am I?”
Hurrying up the stairs, she quieted when she saw him.
“Who are you?” she fearfully asked.
Patiently taking her hand he explained, “Honey, I’m your husband, Chuck, and you’re my Maggie. We’re going to have a wonderful day today.”
Guiding her to the closet, he helped her dress into something attractive. Fixing her hair to his best abilities, he accessorized with jewelry and applied berry red lipstick. Leading her downstairs he enquired, “What would you like for breakfast, sweetheart?”
“I’m sorry- who are you?” Marilyn tremulously asked again.
“I’m your Chuck and you’re my Maggie. Would you like eggs and toast?”
Slowly she nodded.
He flipped on TV, settled her on the couch, and turned his attention to the stove. Cracking eggs, he reflected how they had tackled combining two households and blending two lives. Being lovers and friends for fifteen years had been exhilarating. Reveling in each day, he had been slow to acknowledge her memory lapses and growing confusion.
“Who are you?”
The voice in his ear startled him out of his reverie.
“Sweetheart, I’m your husband, Chuck, and you’re my Maggie.” He sighed, guiding her back to the couch.
Re-entering the kitchen, he said, “Won’t be long; just waiting on the toast.”
“Help me, God,” he groaned. Maybe the doctor was wrong. There were new medicines, new treatments; he’d investigate them all. His Maggie was too beautiful, too full of life to have Alzheimer’s. Suddenly cold, he turned and saw the front door wide open and Maggie no where in sight.
Chuck’s heart pounded. Running into the frigid wind he shouted, “Marilyn! Maggie! Where are you, Maggie?” Frantic, he almost missed her slight form huddled low against a tree.
“Honey, you have to come back home! It’s freezing out here.”
Crying, she babbled, “I heard something – outside- it was my babies! I heard my babies outside. I have to help them.”
“I’ll help them dear, but you need to come with me now.”
For five years he’d rejected everyone’s well meaning suggestions to put his beloved in a care facility. Now, he trembled as he prayed she would forgive him and understand he needed her safe.
Maggie silently stared out the car window. Chuck flipped on the radio to Big Band music and her foot began to tap in time. Reaching over to hold her hand tightly, he pretended they were out for just an ordinary drive.
“Where are we going?”
Brokenly, Chuck spoke. “Some place nice, sweetheart.”
The director was waiting for them as they pulled into the facility.
She approached them and warmly said, “Marilyn, welcome home. Your room is ready. Let’s go in and get you settled.”
Chuck froze as Marilyn let go of his hand and said, “Thank you, that would be nice.” Slowly, she began to walk up the hall, he heard her voicing encouragement to each person she met. “Isn’t it a lovely day?” “My, you have a beautiful smile.” “So nice to see you.”
He knew others may see an elderly woman with wasting away with Alzheimer’s. But eyes of faith helped he see who he had fallen in love with fifteen years ago; his Maggie.
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