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The Elder Site


By Dagmar GoeschickPublished 7 months ago 9 min read

He tried to rush for the bus but didn't make it.It was difficult for him to keep up with the kids his age. His legs were no longer as strong, and his feet didn't mind running any longer.

He only saw the bus's backlights, the large crimson ones, and then it was gone. The mild rain has begun, and he, as usual, has forgotten his umbrella. For him, the day did not begin well. He went carefully to the bus stop, grateful for the large roof and comfortable seats.

Thursday was his and her day. Her name was Gracie, and she was his wife. His life's passion. They met at this bus terminal when they were both extremely young.

Gracie had long since vanished. She died five years ago, and her final wish was for him to visit her in the cemetery every Thursday and talk to her. Beginning at their bus stop. He should bring a tiny coffee and a piece of her lemon cake from the bakery for both of them.

He sat in one of the empty seats and waited patiently for the next bus to take him to the cemetery, Gracie's final resting place.

He missed his wife so much that he thought about her every day. His huge hands, wrinkled from hard work, shook, and his heart raced. He wasn't feeling well today, but he needed to fulfil his wife's final desire.

He had the idea, "Gracie, I wish I could hold your hands in mine one more time, I wish I could dance with you in the rain one more time, I wish I could give you hundreds of kisses and keep you in my arms forever." When she passed away, it was the hardest day of his life.

As far as he could recall, he had never given death any thought throughout his entire existence. He received a call from the cops on his ancient cell phone as he was driving to work.

They advised him to return home right away because his wife had suffered a stroke. Although he could recall entering the house, he was unsure of how he got there. She was laying on a stretcher, about to be taken to the hospital, when he arrived. His daughter and son are both standing close to him and holding hands.

Every Thursday, his thoughts would wander in a similar manner. It resembled Memorial Day. He was in her line of sight when she was hoisted onto a hospital bed as they hurried to the hospital. As soon as they locked eyes, he realised she was going to pass away. Her eyes sparkled with affection for each of them. She was no longer able to speak, but her eyes still communicated with him. He realized that was her method of saying goodbye to his affection.

He squeezed her hand and felt the life leave her as he did so. She had left.

He got up when the next bus arrived at the station. He took a seat at the far back of the bus, as he did with Gracie, to observe the people around them. 'Yes, Gracie, I'm already on the bus to deliver you your coffee and lemon cake'. He chuckled a little bit when he remembered the day Gracie was holding a home-made lemon cake when they boarded the bus. People turned their heads because it smelled so good.

The entire bus was smelling after that cake, which had vanished by the conclusion of their bus voyage. Gracie had to cut it into extremely small pieces in order to accommodate all of the bus passengers that day.

The bus pulled over at the cemetery, his wife's final resting place. He got off the bus and headed directly to the small coffee and bakery on the opposite side of the road. He was confident that the shopkeeper would have everything ready for him.

He walked into the bakery, and the lady smiled as she handed him his orders. There was no need for words. He paid and smiled as he walked away. The rain had ceased, so he went to the cemetery.

"My love, I'm coming; I'm on my way. I've got coffee and cake ready for you". The closer he came, the quicker his feet moved. Suddenly he noticed her resting spot. His eyes began to sparkle once more, the melancholy vanished, and he was eager to speak with her. The previous week had seen a lot of events.

The bench he created for her included a small movable table.So he took his seat and began to speak.

" Good morning, my dear. You are aware that I am no longer as swift as I once was, but I am still very strong. I hope you have as much fun with your coffee and cake as I do.The lady at the bakery across the street always makes sure we receive the first one. I had some leftover cake. I hope you don't mind if I smoke a cigar after we've had our light meal".

He waited a few minutes for an answer and could feel her response 'of course you can have a cigar, my darling, but please don't puff in my way'. He could hear her giggling but remained silent.

"I went to our son's house last week to meet our new grandson. Harrison was named after my father. Do you think this is appropriate for that small guy? I know you've seen him from above, but this is a big name for such a young guy. I told them I'd rather see him with a name like Russel, Isaak, or Kevin."

In his stomach, he felt a little pinch. 'Hey, don't say that he looks like you with his huge green eyes and reddish hair; he definitely looks like a Harrison'.

He almost had the sense as she spoke these words. Even though she was dead, he could sense what she was thinking. Their marriage and relationship, their entire life, was not a life of two persons living together, but of one person with two souls.

They seldom had lengthy arguments because all they had to do was look into each other's eyes to find the solution.

He drank more coffee and carried on speaking. 'The tiny one will one day have large hands and feet, and he also has freckles around his small nose, which, by the way, looks straight like yours, my love. I am aware'.

'I also recall your freckles, Gracie, both the larger ones on your cheeks and the smaller ones around your nose. Quite elegant, by the way. I predict that one day this will appear in our grandson's face as well. he'll chuckle just as you do'.

Now the pinch was more intense. 'Gracie, pinching me like this is unfair." Just reporting what I observed. I think what I saw is good. You already adore that little guy just as much as I do, I know it'.

The bench now began to tremble a little. Not to hurt him, but just to give him "THE LOOK".

He was aware that she disliked being teased, but occasionally he couldn't help himself.

'You ruined my coffee, oh my god. That isn't fair, Gracie, I say'.

He felt more at ease than he had the previous week as the bench stopped swaying. Gracie was aware that this was the only way to let him know how much she meant to him. To see his face turn slightly ominous, she occasionally rocked the bench a little bit more violently. He appeared to be really uncomfortable as he clamped his jaws and his fists around the handles.

He got a kiss from her. The gentle, warm wind of autumn could be felt on his face.

'Thank you for the kisses, my love. I know you enjoy scaring me, but once we are together, I'll scare the hell out of you too,' he said. 'I swear.'

He sipped his last sip of coffee, ate his final bite of lemon cake, carried the garbage to the garbage can around the block, waved her a kiss, and told her he had to go home. The sun had already set, and large clouds of rain were approaching him.

He was sorry to leave her in this frigid spot again, but he knew she was waiting for him back home as well. So he went back to the bus stop, and luckily, he didn't have to wait long.

Rain began to fall as he boarded the bus. He'd be drenched without an umbrella till he got home. But he didn't seem to mind. All that mattered were the memories he carried with him all the way home. He also had all of his wife Gracie's wonderful pictures at home. He had pictures of her when she was young, when they married, when their first child was born, when their second child was born, when they were on vacation together, when they had guests around for dinner or barbecues, when she was at school with the children, and even when she was sleeping.

She had been his greatest motivation throughout his life. His thoughts returned to the Cemetry. His feelings for her never changed, and at times he felt more attracted to her than ever.

He lowered his gaze to his hands. How many times was she carried by these hands? He never tallied this.

Gracie would add, 'I know how many times you carried me on your hands.'

He grinned as he reflected on his thoughts. The bus came to a halt, and he realised he needed to get off. The rain had begun to fall, and he felt weaker as he tried to embrace it.

He took his cane and was going down the road when an older woman approached him, carrying an umbrella over his head.

He tried to thank her for her charity, but she shook her head, put her finger over her mouth, and followed him in silence till they arrived at his house. She handed him a message, waved goodbye, and walked away. He looked at the small message, unable to read it. He walked inside, changed into dry clothes, put his glasses on his nose, and began reading.

"Dear companion. Every Thursday, I see you departing for the Cemetry, like I do. Every Thursday, I see you buying coffee and cake for your late wife, just as I do for my late husband. Every Thursday, I picture you sitting in silence with your lost wife, like I do. Maybe we can do this jointly from now on. We take the bus to the cemetery together, buy coffee and cake together, and speak in silence to our loved ones. After we are finished, we can catch the bus back to our respective homes. We have both lost the most important person in our lives, but we must continue to live."

He sat in Gracie's favourite armchair, the message burning in his huge, wrinkled hands.

'I can't do this to you, my darling,' he reasoned.

'Yes, you can,' Gracie replied.

'You're both still alive, and you need to support each other. This is not a betrayal; it simply demonstrates your devotion to me'.

The images around him began to fade, and he drifted asleep knowing that the love of his life would look after him.

Time would show him the right path, and he'd be holding his loving wife in his arms again, just like before.

Soon he would leave this world because he was old and no longer in good shape, so why not share his suffering now with someone who feels exactly the same as him.

A golden light shining through the window was the last thing he could recall. Time has run out. Hello, Sweetheart.


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