Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The old man and his wife

By Ed Rogers

When I moved in to the house where I now live, an old man and his wife lived across the street. He was about my age but had health problems. She on the other hand seemed to be doing well. They would sit on the slab that acted as their porch and watch the world go by. People would wave or honk the horn and the two always returned a wave and a big smile.
    We spoke very little, as my Spanish is not good and their English did not exist. Each time I came out onto the street they would wave and smile at me. I would wave back and say something about the weather, and the old man would give me the thumbs up in agreement.
    Then one day I didn’t see the old man, and the only time I saw his wife she was getting into a car. I checked around and was told he was in bad shape at the local hospital and they didn’t know if he would make it. During this time I saw the wife out front sitting in her chair two or three times. I didn’t know how to tell her how sorry I was. All I could do was say, “Tuyo esposo”(your husband), and clasp my hands in front of me as if in prayer. However, he came back after three weeks and began to recover nicely. I thought, how wonderful she has her love back.
    Once more these two sweet people greeted their friends and neighbors with a big wave and a smile. But the happiness was short and unfair. Not more than two or three weeks after his return, the wife fell and broke her leg in two places. He would spend all day at the hospital with her even though he himself was not yet well. They decided the wife needed to have plates with pins to hold her leg together, and they set a date for the operation.
    I don’t know what went wrong but she died on the operating table.
    For months after, I would see the man on his porch with his hand over her chair holding on to a memory that had left him far too soon. He still waved and smiled at people, but you could feel the sadness all the way out to the street. Only half a person was left on that porch, and he was longing to reunite with the love that had held him and feel her touch once more. The weather was still about our only conversation, but I no longer said it in passing, but walked up to his gate, waved, and smiled, or took his hand if he was walking in the yard.
    I hadn’t seen him for a couple of days, but I was having problems of my own, and I just thought I had missed him. Then I heard he had died in his sleep.
    Somehow, if there is a just God, when the man awoke, he was in his wife’s arms.

Copyright © 2016 by Ed Rogers


  1. Oh my, Ed. A bitter sweet account and so tenderly written. Thank you very much!

  2. Ed, we wish you well in dealing with or moving on from those "problems of your own." Actually, we wish the same for everyone reading this....