Things Are Not Always What They Seem (The old woman’s continuing story…)

austins 6-11-2015 007Everything is bliss, the world of dreams swirling like mist. From the deep fog of sleep a chirping sound comes from the deep, waking the old lady from her rest. Her foggy eyes try to open as that chirping becomes annoying. Bright morning light floods in bringing pain to her brain. The old woman tosses and turns getting frustrated with that bird. She grabs a pillow and tosses it to the window. She notices that the pillow goes out the window causing the bird to fly away. The old woman groans, “I forgot to close the window last night.” Mumbling about the dang screen being broken and the lazy repair man not getting it fixed yet, she gets up to close the window. The carpet is warmer than the chilly hard floor of her family’s old home, but still her feet tingle from pain and swelling as she shuffles to the window.

“I’m not Cinderella, and I don’t need early animal friends!” The old woman yells out the window. She grabs her pillow from the bush outside then closes the window. She pauses to enjoy the warmth of the sun through the glass. “It would be a wonder if no critter snuck in last night.”

Looking at the clock on her bed stand, seeing six 0’ five glaring in red, the old woman decides it’s pointless to go back to sleep. The custodial help will be here in an hour with pills and breakfast.  Hoping that Briana, a bright ray of sunshine, comes this morning the old woman takes one last soak of the sun’s rays then heads to the bathroom that connects to her bedroom, beside her closet with slider doors. She might as well get her morning constitution over with.

An hour later while the old woman sat in her comfy chair trying to read her latest romance book with glasses perched at the end of her nose. She was fully dressed with her cropped grey hair in fresh curls. A knock sounds at the door next to the small kitchen. The old woman yelled, “Come in!” as she sat her book down on the table next to the chair. The door opened as she placed her glasses with the book. A bright, curly, red head smiling young woman comes in pushing a cart with a covered plate with food.

“Good morning Eileen! “Her musical singsong voice sang with cheerfulness.

“Good Morning Briana!” The old woman was happy to see Bri.

“I have your breakfast, pills, some nice and hot coffee. I made sure it was fresh since Molly (another helper) keeps bringing you lukewarm watered down brown stuff.” Briana smiles wide, her big green eyes shining with glee. “You have scrambled eggs with sausage, cheese, and toast on the side. I even snuck you a muffin, and I didn’t forget the milk this time.”

“It all sounds good, but the best part is having your company this morning. Molly is too gloomy for me lately.” The old woman gives a big smile.

Briana grabs the tray off the cart and carries it over placing it on the old woman’s lap. She takes the cover off the plate then moves the cart over so the old woman can reach her drinks.

“Would you like cream and sugar this morning or just black again?” she waits patiently for the old woman to reply.

“I believe just black today. The sugar has been making me feel a bit sick again.” The old woman scrunches her face and sticks out her tongue. “I hate feeling sick!”

“Me too! So, what do you have planned today?” Briana was wondering as she sits on the other chair in the room. This old woman was not like any other. Eileen was a bit spontaneous.

The old woman sat up straighter, “Well, I plan to visit the park next door. A walk would be nice.”

“Oh! And how are your feet doing this morning?”

“They were sore earlier but are fine now. They’re up for a walk so none of that now!” Chuckling the old woman finished her breakfasts listening to Briana go on about her morning mishaps. The old woman took a nice sip of hot coffee. “Mmm, that touches the spot.”

Briana rose to get the tray putting it back on the cart. “I know you hate this part but here are your pills and milk, I will never make you take them with water again. That was horrible.”

“I know, water and pills make me gag every time!”

After taking the pills the old woman hands the empty glass to Briana. Briana places everything back on the cart. “Well, I’m off to the next poor soul stuck with me today.” She winks as she pushes the cart to the door. “Have a nice time in the park. I’ll come by at lunch on my break and visit with you. We’ll have lunch together if you’re up for it?”

“Sounds great Bri!” The old woman watches her friend leave. Deciding to wait for a half hour for the pills to kick in before she goes to the park, because her feet were still a bit tender, she picks up her book to read.

Realizing that more than a half hour past she places her book and glasses down once again, pushing herself out of the chair she decides to take her walking stick. Her feet were still a little soar. With her cane she walks to the door that leads outside to the sidewalk and retirement home grounds. Just across, over to the other side is the park. On the other side of the park is a college. The park should have some young people passing through.

Coming to the end of the retirement home grounds the old woman and her cane walk in crosswalk lines past 5th street over to the park. As she enters the park she hears laughter. She sees a young couple throwing a Frisbee for their dog, a mutt of some kind. Some joggers pass by her from behind giving her a fright. With hand to chest calming herself down, she notices two young girls coming her way with backpacks. The old woman waves her arm to get their attention.

“Just humor an old woman for a minute!” Eileen calls out.

As the girls approach the old woman puts a smile on her face. “Sorry if I seem a bit crazy but you two seem like nice girls. I just wanted to share a bit advice with you.” The old woman ticks out her free hand. “I’m Eileen, by the way.” Each girl took a turn at a little handshake.

“I’m Sarah.”

“I’m Mandy.”

The old woman leans on her cane. “I just wanted to encourage you to be good to the people in your life.” The old woman quickly goes into repeating what she was so passionate about last night looking in the mirror. The girls thanked her and excused themselves before they were late for their third classes.

As the old woman watches them walk quickly away feeling good that she was able to express herself to someone, she realizes her feet where starting to really hurt. “Blast these cursed feet anyway!”

Spying a bench close by the old woman yearned to sit and rest her feet, but there was some young man all tattooed up with spiked hair wearing grungy clothes looking in her direction. Not wanting to but needing to, the old woman hobbles over to sit on the opposite side. As she slowly sits she clutches her cane close and sticks her nose in the air trying to be standoffish, she was not feeling comfortable at all.

“I heard everything you told those girls, I’m impressed!” The young man spoke.

The old woman slightly turns her head and looks at him out of the corner of her eye. “Thank you!” She spies those ugly big hoops in his ear.

“I mean. I really needed to here all that.”

“Oh!” The old woman looks at him fully, wondering if she was being tricked somehow.

“Yeah, I have a bunch of young punks I’ve been trying to mentor. I was taking a walk to try to figure out how to go about reaching them when I heard you talk to those girls.” The young man leans forward.

“You mentor Kids? Aren’t’ you a young punk?” The old woman was too old to be shy.

The young man laughed “I may look like one, I used to be one. Now I’m a youth Pastor for troubled kids.”

The old woman was shocked, this man a youth pastor. She busted up laughing. The young man smiled from ear to ear. The old woman took a breath, “I would have never guessed, here I was afraid for my life then to find out you’re a youth pastor. Are you sure you’re not putting me on?”

“Nope, and I would love for you to meet my kids. I would also love for you to tell them what you told those girls.”

The old woman became thoughtful. She came to the park hoping to make a difference in someone’s life. We’ll she did have a message, and she wanted to share it. So, why not! “Yes, I think that sounds good. I’ll give it a try.”

“Great! This Saturday at the skate park, I’ll pick you up in my car.”

“Skate-park?”

“Yep, it’ll be fun. Where should I pick you up at?”

Wondering if she was crazy after all, the old woman told the young punk to pick her up over at the retirement home just yonder. Really looking at the young man the old woman is taught another lesson. Things are not always what they seem.

H.E. Olsen

(Watch for Eileen’s next adventure…..)

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