Chapter 59 – Dust

They came out from hiding in their rooms. A new purpose to replace the loneliness, anxiety, the waiting alone. What else was there to do but wait. For several, their mind was past the inevitable, but for most there was still much to be enjoyed and gathered in, especially on days when family came. Jon did not see himself as one of the old people, he was not like them. Except for the stiffness and aches in his body and the bits that didn’t always perform as they used to, he thought of himself with plenty of life left. He was not on the edge, as long as someone didn’t sneak up on him and catch him unawares, unable to defend himself. He still had life, still had fight, he would make it to a hundred.

Nurse Clara requested residents families to bring more pictures to hang outside each residents door. Pictures of young people with smiling, shiny proud faces, showing off their days when nothing but the future was ahead. There was a picture of a six year old Mrs. Remple next to one with a swan-like bride in the arms of a young man in a dark tuxedo and bow tie; another with a young Mrs. Krantz, before she was a Krantz, astride an enormous farm horse paired with a photo of her holding her first grandchild, hair still dark, a proud smile broad across the picture. Snapshots of lives lived full and happy. Stories told through glimpses of times long past, life frozen in those moments. The hallways of The Lodge third floor became a gallery of portraits, a time scape of the lives of its residents.

Mr. Z stood proud at his daughter’s wedding. Next to that photo he was young, in sepia, dressed in a bowler hat, suit with pleated pants, cuffed at the bottom, his black oxford planted proudly on the footboard of his first car. His photos remained on the wall outside his room but his room was empty. Big Bruce had wheeled him down to Dr. Hauptman, out of the sight of his friends. Detective Klugman had not been called in; there was nothing to see, nothing nefarious to report about an old man dying on his toilet.

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