Walter was sitting in the dining hall of the Azure Woods retirement home when he saw her. Her hair—strawberry blond mixed with silver—was thick and hung loose around her shoulders. Walter felt something stir in his mind, like the awakening of something that been long sleeping.
Love at first sight, he thought, scoffing mentally. He was too old for such nonsense. Still, he could not stop looking at her, admiring her kind eyes and the hint of a smile at the edges of her mouth. After all, if not now, then when? He wasn’t getting any younger.
She walked his way and her smile when she caught his eye made his heart beat faster. “Good morning,” she said, sitting down at his table.
“Good morning, ma’am,” Walter said, trying to stand up, but then falling back into his seat. “I’m afraid we haven’t met before. My name is Walter.”
“Margaret,” she said with a small smile and shook his hand.
They talked while they ate and Walter found himself captivated by her. The retirement home was a lonely place sometimes and it was nice to have someone charming to talk to. They went to the rec room after breakfast and sat looking out the window and talking.
By lunchtime, there was a question that was burning on Walter’s mind. He could feel that old familiar nervousness building inside him—something he had not felt since his youth. He reached out recklessly and took her hand.
“Margaret, I know we’ve just met and you don’t know me very well, but I like you. I like you a lot, and time is short. Call me an old fool, if you wish, but I’d like to marry you.”
He saw a tear in her eye and suddenly he knew he had said the wrong thing. He was about to apologize, to take it all back when she leaned over and kissed him.
“I love you, Walter,” she said. “I said yes to you sixty-two years ago and I’ll say yes to you every time you ask me.”
January 16th, 2013 at 11:51 am
I’m thinking Margaret is really his wife, after all. Perhaps he has memory problems. It’s very romantic, David. This wouldn’t be a bad way to end your years if it was a happy moment to re-experience.
January 16th, 2013 at 8:43 pm
Yeah, she’s really his wife. He has Alzheimer’s. I was thinking about that: would it be hard to fall in love over and over again, or would it be nice?
January 16th, 2013 at 12:22 pm
ahhhh.. love this story…. well done David.. 🙂
January 16th, 2013 at 1:09 pm
Oh that was so sweet
January 16th, 2013 at 1:58 pm
Has he got a memory problem?
January 16th, 2013 at 8:41 pm
yeah, he has Alzheimer’s.My grandparents were a bit like this. They lived together in a retirement home, but my grandmother often didn’t know who my grandfather was.
January 16th, 2013 at 2:20 pm
Ahhh, how wonderfully sappy. 🙂
January 16th, 2013 at 2:27 pm
Hello David – Just wanted to let you know that I nominated you for “Blog of the Year 2012!” http://fictionalmachines.com/2013/01/15/blog-of-the-year-2012-twelve/ Keep up the great work & enjoy the day! 🙂
January 16th, 2013 at 8:39 pm
Thank you, kind sir! I really appreciate it.
January 17th, 2013 at 1:59 am
You’re very welcome! I have thoroughly enjoyed your blog / your writing for some time now & knew that you had to be on this list! Have a great one over there! 🙂
January 16th, 2013 at 2:43 pm
I found this little exchange quite poignant. I hope when Mom and I have been married 62 years that I won’t have lost that much ground to Alzheimer’s! If I have though, I expect she will be just as sweet.
January 16th, 2013 at 8:38 pm
Yes, me too (to both of those). It’s probably better to still be in love than to have all your memories and not be. Still, best not to lose them at all.
January 16th, 2013 at 5:50 pm
gently carved, swept me smooth, landed on a couch
January 16th, 2013 at 8:38 pm
January 17th, 2013 at 12:34 am
January 17th, 2013 at 9:20 am
That was my wife’s reaction too. She called me up after reading it and yelled at me for making her cry. 🙂
January 17th, 2013 at 1:39 pm
this is one of your best david, without a question! loved, loved, loved her response! 🙂
January 17th, 2013 at 2:03 pm
Thank you! I’ve had that story kicking around in my head for a couple months and finally got around to writing it down. I wrote it with my grandparents in mind, not because that’s there situation exactly but because they were always so sweet with each other.
January 18th, 2013 at 4:36 pm
nothing is more enviable than two people growing old together, loving each other through years!
January 20th, 2013 at 9:01 pm
an unexpected ending..didn’t guess that he had Alzheimer’s though..Thought that she was his old girlfriend whom he didn’t marry..
January 20th, 2013 at 10:46 pm
I guess it could have gone a lot of different ways. I had that idea in my head for a long time, always with that ending. Not sure where it came from.
January 21st, 2013 at 10:10 pm
Love this story!!!!
January 25th, 2013 at 8:58 am
This is a wonderful story. So sweet, filled with romance at such a ripe, old age. 🙂 There was either a sudden recognition of knowing this was his one love, and wife, or the sense that he could love again. And it is very much like mine, in the sense that we wrote about a disease where one suffers the loss of memory and mental capabilities.
January 25th, 2013 at 9:35 am
I’m glad you liked it. I always love to see elderly people in love, because it shows that even through a lifetime of good and bad times, love can endure.
January 25th, 2013 at 10:40 am
That is very true. My husband and I will celebrate our 47th wedding anniversary this next July. We were only nineteen when we married. I was blessed to have grandparents and parents who stayed married and worked things out in their lives throughout their marriage. It is not often seen these days, but can be done when people want to work at it.