A husband longs to see his wife on their wedding anniversary.
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Copyright William Auten
Before continuing down the hall, Becker slows his cart past the dining room and signals Outside to Von sitting at the back. Von nods, smoothes his toupee—black, a swoop of shine in the middle, and stacked high like a microphone waiting for God—and, patting his chest, raises his hand; he grumbles but stops himself from faking chest pain as when he wanted to get out of movie night and see a gamer girl who, Becker told him, streams while wearing a bikini and a hard hat.
The nurse glides over. “Can I help you with something?”
“I gotta get up.” Von squiggles on the seat of his walker.
“Where are you in pain?”
“Other than being here?” The veins pulse under his thin skin as he latches onto the handles.
“Dessert is on its way, and it’s cheesecake, and I know how much you love…”
“Will you load it with the painkillers you give Delmer?”
Across the table, Delmer beams and bobs the one fuzzy white eyebrow his military service and the prostitutes overseas didn’t blow off.
“You know we don’t share our prescriptions.”
“Then I don’t want to be here.” He struggles to stand.
The others glance at Von and ask if they can leave too. A frail lady, dressed in blue and purple, asks if they could at least switch out cheesecake and go back to ice cream. The table hums yeah, except for Delmer, and adds dessert has been the same since “that company took over. Plus it’s summer.”
The nurse helps Von up and rotate toward his walker. “Would you like me to follow you to your room?”
“Do I ever?”
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