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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Outgoing (05/05/11)

TITLE: The Reunion
By cheryl schoenberger


I can’t wait to see you my darling. If feels like eternity since I’ve held you in my arms.
I will be arriving at the bus station at 2:00pm on June 6th.
With all my love,

Mildred wrinkled up her face as she squinted at the calendar on the wall over her nightstand. “Oh my, today is June 6th!” she exclaimed darting her head in the direction of the clock.
“Oh no, it’s already 1pm, I must hurry!”

She grabbed her hat and purse and hurried down the steps of her building with her joints screaming every step of the way.

“Just two more blocks to the metro station," she mumbled waddling slowly down the street.

The hustle and bustle of the underground station set Mildred into a total state of disarray as she watched the incoming and outgoing trains whiz by every few minutes.

“Oh dear, I don’t know which one to get on."

The metro map was a spider web of colored lines crisscrossing at different junctions, and made absolutely no sense to Mildred.

“Where are you trying to go?” a lanky young man with a kind smile inquired.

“I need to get to the bus station to meet my Walter, but I don’t know which train to take,” she said frantically.

“Oh that’s easy, you take the outgoing train on the red line and get off at Union Station. In fact, here comes your train now.”

Mildred quickly thanked the young man as she boarded her train; her face beamed with happiness in anticipation of reuniting with Walter again.

Walter entered Mildred’s room at the nursing home with a dozen red roses to find Mildred not there.

“Maybe she is playing bingo,” he thought as he shuffled his walker to the general purpose room.

Unable to locate Mildred in all of her usual places, he retreated back to her room to wait.

Walter sat in the rocker, rocking back and forth, confused as to Mildred’s whereabouts when he caught a glimpse of an opened letter on her bed. On closer observation Walter realized it was the letter he sent Mildred in 1942 on his return from serving in World War II.

“Is there something wrong Walter?” the nurse aid asked entering the room with a pitcher of ice water.

“I can’t find Mildred, have you seen her?”

“Union Station, this is it,” Mildred thought confidently exiting the train to the station, and then out the door to the buses.

“Now where is Walter’s bus?” she exclaimed staring at the lines of buses pulling up to the station.

“Oh, it’s only 1:45, I’m a little early. I’ll just sit right here on the bench and wait for him,” she thought.

Mildred retrieved her compact from her purse to powder her nose when she cried out hysterically, “AHHH! Who is this old lady in my mirror? That’s not me!”

“Walter, I am so sorry, we have searched the building thoroughly, and it appears that Mildred somehow left without anyone seeing her,” the administrator reported nervously shuffling his feet.

“Well I think she might have gone to the bus station; I found my old letter on her bed. Could someone give me a lift there right now, it’s almost 2 pm.”

“Absolutely, I’ll take you there myself. If she is not there, we must notify the police to begin the search.”

“She’s there, I know she’s there waiting for me like she did over 60 years ago. Her dementia is getting worse and I am losing my Mildred more and more every day. Her mind is just going; it’s just going. There have been days when Mildred doesn’t even recognize me anymore,” Walter said quickly wiping the tears from his eyes.

“Please Lord protect my Mildred till I find her,” he prayed silently as they drove to the bus station.

They arrived to find Mildred perched on the bench staring blankly at her reflection in the mirror as she caressed her wrinkles with her fingers.

Walter, with roses in hand, called out to Mildred from across the street.
Mildred turned and stared for an endless moment at the bald, 85 year old man hunched over a walker and hobbling toward her. They locked eyes and all at once Mildred’s face lit up with recognition.

“Oh Walter, you came home to me!”

“Yes my darling, I’m home.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Dee Yoder 05/12/11
Very touching. I love the characters portrayed in this entry. Great story.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/16/11
This is so beautiful yet it terrifies me in many ways. I don't think I'm afraid of getting a form of dementia, but I'm afraid that the people I have loved my whole life will seem like someone else and with every glimpse into reality is another painful reminder for the Alzheimer's patient. You did a wonderful job turning a serious and horrible illness into a wonderful love story.
Leola Ogle 05/18/11
Wow! We just put my mother in a care facility a week ago today. She has dementia and when we visit, she doesn't remember who some of us are. The saddest thing is how frustrating it is for her as she struggles to remember. Your story was very touching. God bless!
Linda Goergen05/19/11
Very touching story for me as well, as I am now going through the forgetting with my dad. Dementia is such a heartbreaking disease! Well done story!!!