by Tim Knopp
Morning cast her golden countenance over the room rescuing Eric from a fitful sleep. His lower back twinged as he rolled to where his wife should lay. Empty. Had she slept? Or like him had she tossed until the night kindly dragged her away? The coolness of the sheet suggested she hadn’t waited for morning’s coaxing to rise. Throwing back the blanket, Eric stretched on the edge of the bed unsure how his comforter had been so inappropriately named.
He stepped on stiff legs to the dresser by the bedroom door. A framed picture of his wife held a tiny note in its crook, and he lifted them both to his tired eyes. Funny, he thought staring at the picture, how the years had aged her without his noticing. She had outgrown the homecoming queen of his memories. Still, a beautiful woman was a beautiful woman, and he thanked the Lord for such blessings.
Pulling the note from the frame, he opened the bedroom door. A half dozen strangers occupied his living room, some lounging their grey heads on his couch, others in white uniforms moving busily around the place.
“Hey,” he called, his voice hoarse and dry. “What’s going on here?”
A small, middle-aged thing approached him. The tag on her uniform read “CLEARVIEW RETIREMENT”. “Oh, Mr. Stewart. Good morning. Have you read your wife’s note yet? That usually helps.”
Confused how this woman would know of his wife’s note, he gazed at the paper held in his shriveled fingers.
“God doesn’t just love; He is Love,” Eric read aloud. “Remember that when you can no longer remember me. Yours ‘til forever, Eva”.
The tear of a half-memory soaked the faded note. Eric smiled at the nurse in bittersweet recollection, just as he had each morning for years.