Heart Shaped Memories; flash fiction stories of vital memories written about real people most of us would never pay attention to.
Rattling the Windows of Life
Old man Applegate was about to go off again, destined to scare most of my patients.
Even those heavily sedated sometimes were startled when he began to speak.
He had a voice an opera company would drool over; no amplifier needed. His barrel chest resonated with the walls and sometimes, rattled the windows.
Standing ramrod straight, six foot four and 250lbs, one felt his presence come into a room.
Applegate would usually go on about some war he was in or the day he did this or that. If he was awake and aware of people, he talked.
We all knew him to be blind as a bat. He made his way through a room by shuffling his feet rather than his historical stride. It was safer for him that way. He used his long arms and the cane to feel ahead of him for walls, doors, and people.
His ears were huge, but our staff knew he could not hear. Even so, he would wrap a huge hand around one ear, bend down to us if he thought he wanted to hear what someone said. He might laugh or smile at the wrong places, or say, “That is all right” to the wrong things.
He smiled all day long, regardless of what took place around him. His cheeks were as gentle as silk and red like a Santa Claus picture.
97 years or not, he was a force that could not be ignored.
“Ray?” he hollered, as windowpanes shook and Bobbie dove under a nearby table, while Mrs. Elis jumped as if the devil had touched her.
“My name is Sheila! Not Ray!” I hollered back without shaking any glass.
Most of the other patients seem to know my gender, even if they do forget my name. I like my name Sheila; I like being a woman. I treasure my career as a nurse and caregiver.