The slow, aged bodies are here. I am from there, but now I am here among them. Visiting -aware of my liveliness, attempting to deny the illness that's robbing them with each passing minute.
Isabel. Bonnie. Sharon. Ron.
He shuffles along. Jason holds his hand, attempts to settle him into a chair. He doesn't hear. He's not in there anymore. He's hurried, impatient, unable to slow down and simply be.
Bob. Sonny. June. Clark.
Wheelchairs pass with high backs and carefully bundled bodies full of broken mind. The clicks and clanks of walkers echo down the hall behind our party of three. How can such emptiness bear such weight?
Sandy. Joel. Gary. Marie.
All the placards outside the doors identify this disease, make it personal, give it a name, grant it individuality. The names haunt me. Like pins they prick at my heart, one after the other, until a pomegranate size lump of sorrow rises in my throat, choking me.
Sarah. Roger. Penny. Peter.
Peter. Jon. Peter Jon.
A headache threatens the way black clouds gather in a clear sky before a torrential rain. I roll his name around and around. Sing it to myself like an anthem. Before tears arrive, I find purpose in chasing him down, letting him lead aimlessly around. "Dad." I call. He doesn't hear.
"Peter Jon." His formal name.
Still, no recognition. He moves onward. And there's a hot flush over my soul. Hot as a morning's shower after a long, tired, cold run. Hot that burns my flesh red and itches my muscles under the skin. Hot and lovely.
Dad. Popsicle. Peter.
The heat it's in my heart. It's bits and pieces that are shattered and mottled on the floor of my soul. They're dirty and innumerable, but they're mended and hot -pieced together one by one and leaking warmth all over the place. Like a colander straining the salty water from pasta. Like the broken minds filling this building with their warm memories.Out pours affection -warm and enveloping- like dipping fruit in chocolate and getting it on the tips of your fingers.
A heart of stone, broken and repaired, only together by the grace of God, loves better. Partake, I tell you, partake in that warm, enveloping sort of broken love.