Sunday, April 1, 2012
Sunday Snog: From The Flight of a Thousand Cranes
William was dying.
That single thought brought him more ease than all the pills and potions foisted on him by well intentioned medical staff. Still, the small, shy smile that had won the hearts of lovers past did not wreath his face.
William no longer smiled. Living became tiresome when one’s body ceased all attempts to follow the dictates of one’s mind. He wished his lips could still turn slightly up at both corners. Alas, any attempt at a pleasing expression would now create a melted wax-work mask of horror where the unresponsive side of his face refused to listen to the impulses sent by his will.
Only Phillip saw William’s smiles as beautiful now.
Quick, precise steps rapped against the tile of his floor.
Pull cords rattled.
William closed his eyes against the sudden sting of early morning light.
The same light steps tap-tapped from the window to his bedside.
“Good morning Mr. Tottori. How are you today, sugar?”
William blinked up at Julie.
Julie worked on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
She was the only aide that William truly liked.
Sometimes, he thought, if he could have raised a daughter with Phillip, she might have grown to be like Julie.
“Oood oaning, uulie.”
Julie pressed a hand against his shoulder.
“Can you hang on for a little bit, sugar? Sandy’s got the lift, and I can’t get you on the toilet without it.”
William blinked at her.
He could try.
Julie smiled, warmth spreading across her face and up into her eyes.
She was short, like William, and when she helped him into his chair, or onto the toilet, she took care to not bang him against the armrests of the chair or the handrails in the bathroom.
“eeiie rye uulie.”
She squeezed his shoulder, just once, and then bustled out the door.
William farted again.
He waited, and tried to hold his bowels.
Julie came back twenty minutes later, flushed, her mouth pinched into a tight line as she entered the door. William turned his face away, but not quickly enough. Comprehension flashed across Julie’s face as she took in the tear tracks across his face.
“Oh, damn that Sandy. I’m sorry William.”
With deft hands, Julie turned William, stripped his soiled diaper off, and cleaned him off. She didn’t speak again until he was clean, dry, and had a fresh diaper on.
Julie called them his underpants.
William called them humiliating.
“Oh, William, the laundry girl was just out in the hallway. Do you want me to see if she has Phillip’s shirt clean for you?”
It helped to wear Phillip’s things.
“eeess easse uulie.”
Julie bounced out the door, returning moments later with a broad smile. She slid his bad arm into its sleeve first, then ran her hand lightly across the back of his shoulder as she held the other sleeve down for William to put his arm through.
“Look, William. She even fixed the tear in the shoulder. Remind me to bake some extra cookies for her this weekend, will you?”
William blinked at Julie, twice.
She giggled, propping a hand on one hip.
“I am not one of your fancy boys, Mr. Tottori. Those eyelashes have no power over me.”
William made a noise like a dying donkey.
Julie laughed harder, sliding the fleece covered strap to the Sara lift behind William’s back.
William lifted his good arm to make things easier.
“Thank you William.”
Julie stuck her head out the door to the hallway, hollering in a most unladylike way. William’s mother would have been appalled.
“Oi! Tanisha! Girl, get down here and run the lift for me.”
William’s mouth turned down at both corners.
He sniffed loudly.
Julie cast a glance over her shoulder, rolling her eyes.
“Hush, William. She’s the only one around right now. And she doesn’t smell that bad.”
Tanisha plodded into the room.
Julie pulled William’s chair close to the bed, smoothing her hand over the seat cushion.
The lift whirred.
William hung on with his good hand.
Julie held onto the belt she’d snugged around his hips, holding his bad arm and guiding him down into the chair. The second the chair was firmly under his bottom she called out.
“Thanks, T. He’s in, I got it from here. Why don’t you go take first break and I’ll help feed?”
Tanisha mumbled her thanks and left as ploddingly as she’d come.
Julie gave him a look.
“Be nice William. She hasn’t been feeling well lately.”
William looked down silently.
“Don’t be like that William. She’s really not so bad.”
“At least she helps when I ask her to.”
William looked back up.
He winked his good eye at Julie.
“That’s my guy. You wanna eat in the dining room, or is Phillip joining you?”
Julie met William’s eyes, waiting for an answer.
She nodded briskly, the leaned forward to brush a kiss along the paper thin skin at the edge of William’s temple.
“Well then, if he’s working, let’s get you down to the dining room before Mrs. Jenkins steals your spoons again.”
William snorted. As far as he was concerned Mathilde was welcome to the damn built-up spoons.
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