As you may or may not know, I do an online forum for the Roundup. We often talk about things that are not fun to talk about, things you can hear on the six o’clock news every day, things we would often just as soon not hear about, or talk about, but things we have to talk about because doing something about them starts with talking about them.
The day was Wednesday, Jan. 23. I got up that morning, worked my way through the usual routine and finally got Lolly situated in her recliner, where she was sitting and dozing just a few feet away. Then I opened my little laptop, went to the forum to see what people were saying, and began adding my two cents worth.
All the time I was writing I found it hard to concentrate. Something was hovering in the back of my mind, demanding that I give it attention. Finally, after finding it very hard to focus and taking longer than usual to do the forum, I finished what I was doing. But instead of feeling the usual sense of completion, I felt oddly confused and empty. It was as though I had forgotten to do something important.
As I went to close the laptop I realized what it was. I had left unsaid the most important thing I could have said that day. And so I opened the forum again and let it all pour out of me.
I was writing quickly that morning so it may not read as smoothly as it should, but here is what I had to say, just as it spilled out of me:
Just had to mention this.
On the theory that it’s not true that people don’t want to hear good news, I thought I’d just mention something that happened at our place last night, something that felt very good.
At about 10 p.m. I was in the front room reading, as always with the monitor next to Lolly turned on. She was in bed asleep. Suddenly, I heard a loud sound come out of her, something between a groan and a shout of fright. Lolly rarely says anything much that can be understood anymore, but before I could even get out of my chair she said — very loudly and clearly, “I am SO scared!”
I was there in the bedroom in seconds. I switched on the lamp on the bedside table, told her I was there, took her hand, kissed her on the cheek, and asked her if she was OK.
She rarely opens her eyes wide anymore, but she opened them then. And along with those wide-open, dark eyes came the sweetest, happiest, most relieved smile I have seen in a long time.
“You OK, sweetheart?” I asked her.
She didn’t answer, but the smile widened. I said, “I bought some of your favorite chocolate today, the orange chocolate. Would you like a piece?”
“Yes,” she said very quietly.
Still holding her hand, I gave her a piece of chocolate. Then we talked a while — and she actually talked. David showed up. His monitor is always on too. I asked him if he would stay while I ran upstairs and changed for bed.
He did, and when I got back downstairs Lolly was chewing on another bit of orange chocolate. David told me they were having quite a conversation and she was laughing and happy all the while.
I climbed into bed, put my arm around her as I do every night, and we talked for about 20 minutes. Mostly I talked; that’s the way it always is. Then we went to sleep, together in our 54th year.
If someone were to ask me right now what the best thing in life is I’d probably say this: “I don’t know. There are a lot of wonderful things in this life, each one better than the next, and it’s hard to choose, but one of the best ones is having someone there when you need someone. That’s the way life ought to be.”