Monday, October 8, 2012

Day Eight

Thirty-One, A Novel

Day One
Day Two
Day Three
Day Four
Day Five
Day Six
Day Seven

Day Eight, Monday

Morgan woke up, the sun streaming in across her walls. Scenes from the visit the day before at the Sunnyside Home floated across her mind.

They had walked the hall, making a circle around the entire building. Most of the rooms were private, spacious. Clarisse wanted to think of them as family, at home.

The people’s rooms faced to the outside of the building, all with windows. The center of the building held offices, kitchen, storage, and the large dining room, also used for activities. Big windows opened on to the hall, to allow for visibility. Off the dining room, through large sliding glass doors, was an inner courtyard with a patio. It was concrete, with scattered beds of flowers and a small tree. Wind chimes were hung from the eaves, and several colorfully bright and cheerful wind whirly-gigs were placed around in the plants.Wheelchairs could easily be placed there, and a scattering of chairs and small tables were pleasantly arranged. She was impressed with the efforts made to make everything pretty and comfortable.

As they walked by the dining room, a church group sang for the people sitting there.  Several guitars, a flute played by a teen girl, and six voices, together. Morgan guessed there were about twenty listening to them, most of them attentive, a few singing along. They listened, absorbing the music. She and Clarisse walked on past.

Clarisse showed her the kitchen and her office, which had a window looking out on to the inner patio. She told her, “Now that you know your way around, I would like to introduce you to two of the ladies here. Gertrude and Marie. Marie is in room one hundred two. We’ll go there first.”

“Marie, I have someone here to see you. This is Morgan. Morgan, meet Marie. Marie is blind, but she always helps us see how happy life is.” She emphasized the “see.”

Morgan reached out and held Marie’s hand. “Glad to meet you, Marie. You are wearing a pretty pink blouse.”

“Thank you,” she answered in her scratchy voice. “My daughter brings me tops that are pretty colors. She knows I like to know what color I wear each day, so I can picture it in my mind. They tell me about the flowers in the garden, too, what is blooming. I like that.”

“Did they tell you about the beautiful golden yellow sunflowers at the front desk? They have a huge bouquet up there.”

“Sunflowers. Oh, I remember the fields in Kansas. Miles of them. Sunflowers as far as you could see. In the morning, they would all face east, and by the afternoon, they would turn with the sun and face west. Funny, how they would do that.”

“Did you live in Kansas?”

“No, I’m from the east coast, New Jersey. But we would drive across the country to visit family we had in the west. It was a long drive, all the way across. Days of driving. There was always so much to see. Back when I could see. Wheat fields. Corn. But I loved the fields of sunflowers, when we drove past those.”

They talked a few more minutes. Clarisse told her they were going to visit Gertrude. “Tell her hello from me. Nice to meet you, Morgan. Please come back again, we can talk some more another time.”

Morgan hesitated, with her answer, but took Marie’s hand again. “Marie, I will come back to talk, again. I will bring you some flowers from my garden, some roses that smell pretty.”

“Oh my, thank you, you are very sweet. Please do come, don’t just say you will come, then don’t. I do want you to come.”

“I will, I promise,” said Morgan.

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