Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: FAMILY (01/21/16)
TITLE: Mr. Smiles
By Gregory Blake
LEAVE COMMENT ON ARTICLE
SEND A PRIVATE COMMENT
ADD TO MY FAVORITES
I’m his attendant. My name is Kathy. I’m 22 years old and just out of college. Eventually I want to be an RN. The nursing home is only three blocks from my parent’s house. My dad died when he was 48. He was killed by a drunk driver who decided to drive on the wrong side of the road one night. It was scary having the police come to our door so late. The knock alone was chilling. My mom is an RN at the local hospital. She works long shifts which I think helps her cope with losing her husband of 23 years. I guess I work at the nursing home for the same reason. It’s pretty quiet when we’re both at home.
Daniel is an interesting man. He always smiles but has never talked. I have had many one way conversation with him and sometimes they even get heated. I guess I bend his ears a bit more than I should.
Daniel loves to stare. He focuses on the ceiling for hours or at the wall to his right. When he looks at me, his eyes seem to be fixated on mine and when I blink he blinks. But strangely his smile never changes.
I wonder about his family. He seems as though he was once a tall handsome man. A purple heart is at the side of his bed, but nothing else. No photos, no books, nothing! In the closet, he just has what he walked in here wearing. I feel sad for him. 96 years old, did he out live all his family and friends? I guess at 96 there are no more high school reunions or gatherings at friend’s houses for a game of cards. Perhaps my generation with their computer tablets will communicate through social media if it’s still around. But I'm only 22, I’m sure they'll be other ways to communicate with family and friends when I’m 96.
Today I decided I would talk about the war. I figure based on it being 2016 and Daniel being 96, he probably served during the time frame of 1939 to 1943. Was he stationed in Hawaii during the attack at Pearl Harbor? What an experience to have lived through all that. He must have had family here in the states and was shipped off there. What if his parents died and he had no choice but to go into the service? His fellow soldiers were his new family. I did some research and there were a lot of men who signed up to defend America as they do now. It was wartime back then and they needed men and women doing their part.
I started to talk to Daniel. As I brought up that war, I noticed his focus went from the ceiling to me. I walked around, he never broke his stare. His eyes seemed to be trying to talk to me. I wanted to get an emotion out of him, but there was nothing, not even a tear, just his big smile. It was frustrating, I pushed the envelope and started to make up a story about how Daniel and his twin brother ran away from home at 17 and hid out until they were 18 before enlisted.
Assigned together they shared their experiences. They were transferred to Hawaii in November of 1941 and were assigned to two different ships. One was the USS West Virginia. That was the one I told Daniel he was on. The other was the USS Arizona. That sadly was the one his brother was on. The story went on for a while. I somehow managed to create a vivid enough story that he never broke his focus. I had to end the story as I had stayed in his room too long.
Daniel Peterson, Mr. Smiles. Why didn’t he have family that cared about him? Where were his friends, perhaps they were here, I wish they were.
I came in the next morning. The nurses said Daniel died in his sleep.
They said he had left me a folded note.
God, I’m really afraid to read it.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be right now. CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.