The couple in the diner…
Tonight my friend and I went to the Cupboard, a home-style diner with typical Southern “meat and three” plates. The waitresses were older and cordial, buzzing around getting sweet teas for their customers, which mostly consisted of seniors. An elderly man and woman came in and sat down together, on the same side of the booth. The woman was fussing and making unusual noises. The man said apologetically, “She’s mad at me.” He gave her sips of tea, chose her meal, and spoon-fed her. She fussed on and off throughout, although not with true words. He took it all calmly. The waitresses all knew them and stopped to visit. We could see their reflection in the glass window, the bright lights over each booth in stark contrast to the darkness outside. It was almost surreal. This is our geriatric semester, and us OT students have been learning a lot about the geriatric population, dementia, Alzheimer’s, caretakers, and more. It broke my heart – but also made me happy – to see how sweetly this man took care of his wife. It’s obvious it cannot be an easy life to have a spouse with Alzheimer’s, but he made it look beautiful and romantic.
We left the restaurant, and the couple continued to haunt me. We went to our next stop, Davis-Kidd bookstore, to find a birthday present. I always feel odd when I’m in brightly-lit stores while it’s dark outside, and I could not tell you why. It’s not quite anxiety, but it’s just a fluttering under the surface, as if it is unnatural. It makes me feel less real somehow. There is a Stephen King book where people are in a supermarket when the world gets eaten up around them. I read it probably 12 years ago, but it still bothers me when I think about it! Anyway, I walked through the bookstore, wanting almost every book I saw. It literally made me almost feel sick. I love to read, to have words wash over me, to wrap myself up in words and cuddle with them. I could easily read several books a day if only I had the time, energy, and eye strength. During breaks, I typically do read about a book a day. I’ve decided Davis-Kidd should start an “Adopt a Book Orphan” program where a person can put down like 10 books he/she really wants and why, and then people can buy one of those books for them during check-out. They could change the person out weekly and come up with the person via contests or just lotteries. Because I need to be sponsored. I need books. I crave books. I am a book junkie. I need to smoosh the books up and insert them via IV. I need something like methadone, only it should be bookadone. So if anyone wants to adopt a book orphan, or if any bookstore owners need a book orphan, I lie before you, ready to be your book vessel. I love to read about others, to fill my brain with the thoughts and perspectives of others. My brain was made for occupational therapy and I soak all this information in because it will all help me one day as a practitioner. I was particularly frustrated tonight about not being able to read because it also made me itch to write. I wanted so badly to let the words flow out of my fingers like syrup, to convey the poetry of the couple in the diner to you all, but the words never come out right. I’m never able to find adequate words to describe the feelings that pour into my heart, the sense that there are so many bittersweet moments in this world that almost fill my heart to bursting. Sometimes I truly do believe my heart will just break with all the emotions I see, swirling around me endlessly.
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