George had awoken at the same time he had been for over the last twenty years, as soon as the morning sun spread her warming rays through the partially opened curtains on his window.
His morning routine never varied either, his shaving and dressing all a part of a routine he had learnt from his earlier days in the army, a time so long ago now that only surfaced now and then when he allowed his memory to wander back to ancient days.
George shuffled down the corridors of the old nursing home he had come to call home after being a resident there for over twenty years, as usual he knocked on the door of number 23 and heard a thin weak voice call him to enter.
Marge was sitting at her dressing table brushing her long white hair, hair that used to glow golden in the sunlight but now had turned to white, Marge had been a resident longer than George had, but they both, in the eyes of the nursing staff, developed a mutual friendship. They shared each others company and enjoyed walks together , and were always playing cards or listening to George’s old phonograph records.
Time for breakfast Marge, George called to her.
Be right there George, Marge responded, as she put the finishing touches to her hair.
He held her arm as they both shuffled down the corridors to the dining room, they were always the last to arrive and the last to leave. They sat at the table they had both shared for many years now, it was a ritual in the dining room where the residents had their favourite table, which was unspokenly reserved.
The breakfast conversation was no more, nor no less than what it had been for over twenty years, the weather, the coming of spring,the emergence of the daffodills and marigolds in all their new born colour. George had replayed this conversation over twenty years now and never tired of watching the shine in Marge’s eyes as she recalled every piece of the awakening of each season, he loved to see the shine in her eyes as she recalled forgotten days from her childhood.
Breakfast was over as they were, as usual, ushered from the dining room to allow the staff to prepare for the days dining regime.
George took Marge’s arm and led her into the garden for their daily morning walk, she loved this time of the day, the sun gave her warmth and bought out the girlish colours on her parched and aged skin. She allowed George the privilege of holding her arm as they strolled down to the big old maple tree, the one with the aged old bench beneath , the bench that they had sat on for over twenty years for George , but for Marge it was a a bench she sat on for the first time each day.
Marge loved to hear all about George;s life and family and George, at Marge;s insistence, would tell her.
How many children do you have George and how many grandchildren Marge would ask.
George would begin with a faraway look in his eyes, I have three children Marge, two boys and one daughter.
How many grandchildren George Marge would press.
My daughter has a daughter, my grandsons, my two boys have a son each, two grandsons, so I have one grandaughter and two grandsons said George.
Marge would sigh and tell George how much she enjoys hearing about his family.
George wanted to ask Marge to tell him all about her family but Marge flatly refused, this actual conversation occurred over twenty years ago, under the same maple tree, when Marge confided in George that she had a medical condition and cannot recall any off her past life, and thats why she loved hearing of Georges family and history.
The morning sun was tiring, as two old friends shared company and friendship, Marge asked George if he would mind helping her back to her room , she felt tired today and wanted to have a small nap. George obliged and helped his old friend to her feet and escorted her back to her room, they would , as Marge insisted, have their afternoon card games and listen to Georges old phonograph.
Seeing Marge safely in her room, George ambled down the corridor to his room with the intention of a morning nap,coming towards him he noticed Doctor Graham , Doctor Graham was Marge;s Doctor.
Morning Doctor said George.
Morning George how are you, fine, going well said George, can I ask you a question, yes said Doctor Graham.
Hows the tests going on Marge ?,Doctor Graham knew the relationship between George and Marge and had no hesitation in telling George the truth.
George he said, as you know, Marge has a medical condition whereby she cannot recall her past, we have done every test medically possible but cannot explain her condition, what is perplexing is that every few years she comes out of this condition and can recall all her past, every bit of her past, but these instances only last for about half an hour, she then seems to fade back into some world or living coma that is a complete mystery to the medical profession.
I’m sorry George but thats the way it will always be, you are a great comfort to Marge, George, and in her world of coma I am sure she knows the love and feels the comfort you bring her.
George retired to his room and decided to have a short nap, but sleep was as elusive as a butterfly. He pondered on the ways of the world and the many vagaries of life, he wondered how, in old age, these earthly emotions of love and memories take on such huge proportions in an ageing mind.
He thought of Marge and what would be her emotions and feelings if she actually came face to face with her past.
He fell asleep into a wandering world of both past and present, a cauldron of emotions, where love was trapped between the past and the present, with no future on the horizon, and thus was how George slept.
Both George and Marge were in the habit of having their midday meal in their rooms, and late in the afternoon George would get the cards and with his old phonograph under his arm, make his way to Marge;s room.
Today they played cards quietly and enjoyed each others company while listening to George;s old 78s, the record finished playing and Marge laid her cards on the table.
She looked at George and said,
How come you never visit me like you always used to ?
George gazed at Marge and saw a look of comprehension in her eyes.
You never tell me about the children or how the grandchildren are she snapped.
I visit you every day and tell you how the children are said George, in a quick placating way,
also as you know that shop of ours takes up a lot of time to run Marge.
Tell me how the children are and how they are doing at school she asked.
George leant across the table and took her hand within his, he then proceeded to tell the full story off Marges sickness, from there he went on to tell her all about her children, the same story he had been telling her for over twenty years under the nursing home maple tree.
He told her their two sons were doing well, one was a doctor the other a barrister, both had boys at university, their daughter was married and given them two grandaughters, twins.
Marge said nothing as George related their history,tears were flowing down her cheeks as she held Georges hand tightly in her own frail hand.
George gazed into Marge;s eyes and saw the overwhelming love that he was also feeling.
Would you like to dance with me Marge ?
She could only nod as words could not escape her lips.
George moved over to the old phonograph and selected a record that he had only played for her six times, he took her arm and raised her to the floor,wrapped in each others arms they slowly waltzed around the cold austere nursing room floor, years fell away as two lovers danced back into time and memories, times of carefree love and laughter, the world was theirs, the world was their oyster and they were the pearl, a pearl of magical colours, all combining to make two hearts one.
Marge gazed into Georges eyes and told him of her undying love.
I love you George ever since the day we were married, I know I have been sick and you are with me every day. I feel you in my arms every day and I will feel your love in my heart for eternity.
This time George, I dont think I will be returning, we are aged and time has flown,just remember that I will always love you she said, as tears flowed freely down her aged cheeks.
George held her close and told her he will forever be by her side and that their love will never die.
The record finished playing and, as old 78s do, went into a scratching mode.
Marge pushed George away from her, and demanded to know what was he doing, and what did he think he was doing in her room.
George could see a vagueness in her eyes and quietly said,
I am helping you back to the card table.
I dont want to play anymore cards, I am tired and want to lie down.
George helped her to the bed and saw she was comfortable.
And take that infernal machine with you, its giving me a headache she said.
George asked if she wanted to play cards again tomorrow and got a polite nod of Marge.
I just need to rest George , now go.
George moved to the door with the old phonograph player and took one last backward glance at Marge, with a solitary tear coursing down his cheek, he whispered words that only angels could hear.
I love you Marge.
Nights can be long and lonely in the old nursing homes for the aged.
Dawn broke through the ancient windows heralding the new day.
The night nurse shift logged off as the new shift began their morning rounds.
Marge couldn;t be woken, she had finally left her world of dreams and memories which of only she could understand.In her hand was held a faded photograph of three young children.
The young nurse made her way back to the nurses station to report her finding to the sister on duty.
The sister told the young nurse to go and advise George as she knew that they were very good friends.
The young nurse entered George;s room and found it in darkness which was unusual for George.
George had found his peace and had gone with the only love he had ever known.
A calmness and hint of a smile upon his lips was all that remained.
The only sound in that ancient old room was the scratching of the record on the old phonograph.
The nurse moved over and removed the record and turned off the player, she glanced at the title of the record that had been obviously playing all night, it was The Emperors Waltz.
She wasn;t to know that it was a waltz that was played on a wedding day many years before she was born, a waltz for two young hearts that swore eternal love and now waltz between the stars and moons locked in each others hearts
Years passed by and the old nursing home was finally demolished, in an old boarded up storeroom at the end of the hall, they found an ancient phonograph with an old LP record, scratched and worn,The Emperors Waltz
The narrative for this story is purely mine, it is my first adventure into the world of storytelling as such. However I must admit the storyline is taken from an old movie I once saw many years ago, the title of which I cant recall.I have taken the liberty of posting this in both my spaces, Aussie Ian and Aussie Emu as I am not sure if its Love and Romance as such or just a story.
I hope you enjoyed my efforts