Day Twenty-One, Sunday
The morning, spent quietly, reading and relaxing, went by quickly. By one o’clock, Morgan was ready to go to the Sunnyside Home. Early. She laughed at herself. What a change from the first time she went there a few weeks ago. If someone had told her she would enjoy visiting an old folk’s home, she would have told them they were crazy. And she was crazy, a happy crazy. The women, somehow, gave her more than she could ever give them.
She cut two of the sunflowers, shortened their stems to fit in jars. One, she would give to Marie, the other to Gertrude. Her new friends.
At Sunnyside, she walked down the hall, around to Gertrude’s room. “Hello, Gertrude.”
“Morgan, come in, come in. How are you today?”
“Okay, and you? How are they treating you here? I brought a flower for your table.”
“Oh, good as always. The flower is beautiful. A spot of sunshine.”
“Yes, that’s why I love sunflowers. I buy a bunch whenever I go to the Farmer’s Market. They cheer up my little house.”
“And why does your house need cheering up? Are you discouraged?”
“I am still struggling, sorting out my new life. Finding my way, alone, instead of with a family. With just me to care for.”
Gertrude said, “Sit down, here, next to me. Honey,” she took Morgan’s hand, “Life has so many turns and corners. This is just another corner, another intersection on the road. When I was learning how to drive, ages ago,” she grinned, “My dad would tell me to go any direction I wanted. Come to a corner, and choose. He said it didn’t matter where we went. Just keep going. Keep driving. Keep practicing. Keep moving. We would get sort of lost, but never completely lost. We made some great discoveries, places we hadn’t known about, sights we hadn’t seen, all because we were not afraid to take the unknown road. Don’t be afraid to take the unknown road. It has surprises ahead.”
“That’s what I am afraid of, the surprises. What if a bridge is washed out, or it dead ends, or ends up in a swamp? Or if I get lost?”
“What kind of talk is that? No! If the bridge is washed out, you go around. If it dead ends, you turn around and go back, take a different way. If it ends up in a swamp – where are you, anyway, this is Colorado, not Florida.”
Morgan laughed, “I know, just an illustration, I guess, of the way I feel.”
Gertrude looked at her. “Morgan. I will guess that you feel guilty. That blame weighs heavily on you. Blame and shame. It is a game that some people play. If they play that game they are not responsible. That’s how they hold you.“
Morgan looked down at her hands. “But when their voices are loud, blaming, criticizing you, it is hard not to listen.”
“But you do not have those voices anymore. They are not here. They are only in your head,” said Gertrude.
Oh, thought Morgan, she is right. What voices do I hear, now? Gertrude, Marie, Nancy, her kids, even Joey, with her eyes looking up at me, begging aloud to be petted, the gal at the journal table, telling me to write, my friend, from Washington, sending me a book to read. “You are right, Gertrude. I am living in the past. I need to turn that corner, don’t I? Go a different direction, find new scenery.”
“Good girl,” said Gertrude.