For The Love Of Milly.

This is a completely reworked story that I penned a while ago and hope you agree it deserves a second shot.

Press here to join in and post your own story, to read all the others tap the blue frog over at Esme’s place.

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At lunchtime Bob tied a napkin beneath her chin, he softly crooned as he spooned sustenance between her lips. With the touch as soft as mallow, he caught the spillage caring that none other could see. I watched Bob care for his wife over many years, he accepted help only when he had to. Milly would batt her lashes and flirt with Bob openly, I am sure she believed they were alone. Milly whispered and giggled, sometimes you could hear her singing to Bob. One summer evening through the window, I saw them dance, in some imaginary place they took to the floor; such an intimate sight.

What they had together was gentle, the connection was tangible, respectful yet fun.

Bob and Milly were the only couple living in the home where I work, Milly in the early days was fit and able, she took an active role in the running of the home. Bob for the first four years went out to work; until Milly’s episodes became continual.

When Bob was out or having a break we nurses, would cover our uniforms and distract her by being her guests. Me with a floral crossover pinny and a pink plastic curler in my fringe. In her own space she was calm and liked the familiarity, but she came alive, I’d say animated; when Bob was near.

Milly was failing fast and still, Bob continued with the rituals she came to expect. Many a day I came on duty to see his eyes cloud, his shoulders down; it took its toll on him, loving Milly. I went into their room with a tray of tea and cake, the intention was to assess discreetly the situation; to offer support. Milly was unresponsive, as If I didn’t exist. She lay very still, occasionally her eyes would flicker. Each time she heard his voice her mouth would lift and lashes would batt. He bathed and brushed, stroked, and dressed her. For six days he never left her side, the doctor had been and we all waited in a hushed silence for the inevitable.

Worried for him, I wondered how he’d be once she had passed.

I tapped the door; it remained closed, pulling a crack just enough to peek. I could see him, cradling her in his arms; on the bed with her. Bob’s face pressed into her hair, his cheeks glistened as he rocked her to and fro humming a long forgotten tune.

At the funeral I stood next to him; he seemed spent and sad. The small chapel was full of flowers, sun-streaked through the glass as bright as the cheerful hymns they played. kindly words and reminiscences were recalled. Bob stood at the pulpit and said his last goodbye.

Bob and five clients took the minibus back to Green Hays for Millie’s high tea. Once goodbyes were said and each person had gone, I sat in his armchair for the longest time remembering the fun that was Milly, not maudlin but good happy talk. I asked…
“How did you do it, Bob, where did you get the stamina to keep on for years?” He clenched his hands to stop them trembling. As if deep in thought, he slowly nodded. “Once her memories had disappeared, (his lip trembled) it was my place to make her feel love every day. So each day for her was our first date. Then whenever it was her time to pass, she would know… to-day she was loved.”

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Wouldn’t you wish to be loved as much as Milly? Leave a comment If I touched that spot?

Looking It In The Face .

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She rests her head, I examine her face

Her beauty buried beneath wear.

The folds of skin that crack the space

Where blushing cheeks once shone.

 

A beauty spot, faded lashes

Now translucent almost  gone.

She rests, she rests her eyes

those eyes that have seen so much.

 

Reflected I see love in this face,

The skin that felt my youthful flesh.

That held my arm that time,

Proud to be seen there.

 

I said I would, I do and did.

She gave her life to me,

To cherish to love and pleasure

Then, now and forever.

 

Opening her clouded eyes I see fear,

As her mind refuses to know me.

Memories stolen never to return

I pray for her to rest those eyes

Once more.

 

In trying to experiment with finding my voice I put this together to see if I could be authentic when writing with a male perspective. Your comments would be appreciated thank you.

Snow in England.

The snow rarely comes in the form you see described. On pretty Christmas cards or winter antartic scenes. Glistening and dry, sparkles of majestic sweeping piles covering as far as eyes can see. Fun and games and laughter for every age;  invigorating and reminding the aged of their youth.
No, where we live, except in exceptional times, those one off ever to be remembered times; snow is like this.
A sloppy slush of snapped shards in a iced gravy, a slippery gritty danger underfoot. Broken bones,  strains and sprains, torn ligaments and dislocations. Parents scared for both old and young alike. Teenagers and adults want a piece of what you describe and  see. So they gather and squeeze the mess that is snow; into balls. The ammunition built for fun and laughter can take an eye, cut a cheek, leave the accident and emergency department full. Cars skid up footpaths ploughing into unaware pedestrians, who moments earlier wobbled and grasped at the coat of a stranger to save a fall. Now they lay still, in  the cold soup; which chills in to their broken bones.
The elderly wary of a fall which will end them; stay put. Watching, waiting for some passer by to knock and check that he/she is o.k. Turning the heating as low as they dare for fear the cold snap will stay, and money will not stretch to pay the bill. So those who once stood strong against armies, who have done their bit for the peace of man. Huddle close, breathe in the damp air; eat less to make food last. Many succumb to chest infections, influenza or pneumonia . Others fall, due to their undernourished bodies leaving them lightheaded. Some are found weeks later (once remembered) by a relative; frozen in a chair.
For many, the toboggans and snowmen, the snowballs and fun are memories of thick wintery weather. For far too many, especially here in this great place; snow means fear. The picture postcards of winter, the reality of it will never be seen or sold;  just felt.
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Twilight.

Stumbling out of bed the old man rubs his face with both hands vigorously. Maude opened one eye; the one nearest him. She was watching so she could gauge his ability this morning. It wasn’t as if it really would change at least not for the better.
Every day she had hoped; for five years. Five years of praying that she would wake and it all be a dream. Years of watching the very one she loved, fade away until he was barely there.
Stan wobbled and walked with his hands hanging loose down his sides. He rocked slightly as he went, like a clockwork toy whith stiff legs he entered the bathroom.
The bathroom was forward prepared. A bin with  a clean bag lining was open and adjacent to the alibaba laundry bag , the Orthapedic toilet seat was in place and ready with lid up. A chair with neatly folded clothes on top was placed next to the sink by the window. The plan or routine was set in stone. Stan entered the room and moved anti clockwise around it until he was back at the door. It was an operation, a learnt skill of enormous magnitude. Maud’s cleverly set up routine meant that on the whole Stan kept his tenuous grip on his dignity with a smidge of independence thrown in..
Step one: jama’s off and place in alibaba basket and replace the lid.
Step two: night pad off, put in bin and clean area with wet wipe, drop in and close the lid.
Step 3: run water in sink (plug already in) soap flannel, wash face then hands arm pits then BTM. ( Maud’s word for backside) Rinse all soaped bits; then dry on the towel that is hanging right next to the sink.
Now Stan is in front of the chair, the clothes are anatomically arranged for him to dress.
Step three: vest, sweater, pants then trousers socks then slippers. This can become muddled in winter with extra layers. Now Stan can gaze out the window while he combs his hair, with the comb on the sill. Job done Stan should arrive fairly clean… standing in the doorway facing Maude .
Maude who incidently will be sat up in bed arms folded looking towards the door; ready to smile and greet her husband.
Now I am sure, with a little bit of planning all of the above is achievable. But all good plans sometimes… fail.

Today, a bad smell was drifting it’s way into the bedroom. A soft moaning could be heard escaping under the bathroom door. Maude was twitchy, wanting to burst in and help her softly crying husband. But she knew from past attempts, if she did disturb his routine. If she burst in it would be catastrophic.  So Maude left him to his ablutions and tried to be calm.
For half an hour she patiently waited, listening at the door, trying not to worry. Grunts and groans ahh’s and ohh’s were heard. Then the shuffle of Stans slippers dragging across the floor. Jumping into bed folding her arms, she smiled expectantly at the door.

Stan stood with little smudges of poop on his hands and smears on his clothes. Otherwise he was dressed and ready. Maude watched a tear slide down his cheeks from his closed eyes. Quickly she rushed past him grasping the wet wipes from the bathroom, trying to not look at the mess. Maude wiped his hands and face rubbed at the few smears from his clothes until he was clean, and she kissed his cheek. She led Stan to the bedroom window. “Look lovey” she said “the first leaves are turning”. Stan screwed up his face, his nose and mouth scrunching up like a child with lemon in his mouth.
I can’t see oh God help me I’m blind, he shouted. Maude grabbed his shoulders and turned him around. Facing him she shook him once, twice.
You silly bugger, open your eyes!

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