She comes to see me everyday, sits next to me, feeds me and talks to me. I don’t speak to her. I can not speak. I have almost lost my speech. I must be about ninety years old now.
Florence… is my wife. I was speechless also when I saw her for the first time some sixty five years ago. She looked beautiful in the dim light of the street coming from the mirrored butterfly lantern early last century as she walked past the lamp-post. Her long black hair moved swiftly as she walked. I was lucky to have met her few minutes later at the West End Theatre. I used to sell tickets at box office and she had an interest in musical plays.
Soon we teamed up for walking from the nearby coffee shop to the theatre. Before long we fell for each other. I was very nervous the day I proposed her but when she accepted I was delirious. Her reaction was pleasantly complex and delicate. I held her soft and silky hand in mine and we walked by the riverside. It was a beautiful summer day. We could not talk for few minutes.
When we reached the theatre, I broke the silence, “Florence, I love you”.
She kissed me briefly; her brown eyes sparkled, and she ran into the theatre with that subtle smile which is indelibly marked on my soul.
I heard her talking to the nurse, “Can I… stay with him everyday?”
“We have been together …more than sixty years! So…I want to spend… most of my time with him”.
“I will do everything for him”. Her fragile voice was very tender and full of a humble request.
She went on, “I will clean him…, dress him…, feed him…and… I will go home for my lunch. There is a bus to our house…I know I am a bit old for the buses but… I will manage… if I am allowed to come back for the afternoon”. Her voice was breaking.
I watched her helplessly. I could not keep my promise of taking care of her for life. My eyes were damp. I wished I could go back to our house so that Florence did not have to beg to be with me, so that she did not have to travel everyday to see me and to be with me. And I could also have her in front of me; forever…for whatever life remains.
Going back home is no longer a possibility. I am destined to die in this place now. I will never see our house again. The house that Florence and I made into a home, a home of our dreams. Some fulfilled, some not. The house is still there but I will never get a chance to go there and see it even once. Only my body will be taken there one day, I understand.