After my hospital stay last winter, it was decided that I was to spend time in a rehab center before going home. After spending several days in my room I was wheeled down to the physical therapy room. Afterwards, I was asked it I would like to have dinner in the dinning room. Before then I was not up to it,
but now the thought sounded inviting, and so I was wheeled off to join the rest of the patients there.
I looked over at the man sitting next to me all alone and smiled and said hello. He had amazing pale blue eyes, and a warm smile that seemed to speak volumes, even though he hadn't uttered a word. We sat there for some time in silence, and I had the feeling that this was going to be an awkward hour or so.
When I was asked what I wanted to eat, I decided on an egg salad sandwich so I wouldn't have to spend too much time there.
I looked out of the picture window by our table and thought I'd try a stab at conversation, although at this point, I wondered if the man ever spoke at all. "The view from here sure is beautiful" I said, not really sure that I expected a reply. He sat back in his chair and took a deep, slow, breath and looking out the window he said, "All this is mine." And then he smiled as though he had a secret that only he knew. "Wow, you sure are lucky to own all that." It was a beautiful wooded area. Still looking out the window, he nodded and smiled that knowing smile of his. When I was ready to leave, I noticed a name on his wristband and so I said, "Well Norman, it was a pleasure meeting you. I am sure I'll be seeing you again."
That dinner was somewhat strained so I surprised myself the next night when I was asked where I wanted to sit I motioned to the table where Norman was once again sitting alone. He greeted me with a warm smile. I picked up my menu and said, "Hummmm , everything looks so good I don't know what to have." Norman took me by surprise as he looked at me and said, "Tonight you can have anything you
want." He said this as though he just granted me a wish that only he had the power to give. I smiled back at him and ordered the special of the day, steak with mushrooms and salad, not caring how long dinner would take.
Just as I finished my dinner, Norman leaned over , as if to be sure that no one could hear and said, "Who moment and then I whispered back, "I don't know. Who do you think did it?" He looked at me and shrugged his shoulders and said, "I don't know either."
I found that Norman had a calming affect on me, and I was much more relaxed in his company. I ordered dessert and when my coffee came he leaned over and put sugar in my coffee and stirred it for me. He was just so sweet.( and so was the coffee since I never took sugar in my coffee!) I said thank you, and never did I enjoy a cup of coffee as much.
Days passed and I was busy with my physical therapy and my visitors, and I noticed that Norman wasn't around. I wondered if he was sick, after all, we were all there for a reason. I met other people at dinner time, but one night I was pleasantly surprised to see Norman sitting at a table with some other people
that I had met. They called to me and pointed to an extra place at their table. I happily joined them and was glad that I was seated next to Norman.
Gladys said to me, "This is Norman." Then she whispered to me, "We don't know if his elevator goes all the way to the top, if you get my drift." I looked over at Norman and smiled and said, "Hi Norman, how are you today?" He just looked at me with those blue eyes of his and smiled a smile that seemed to say,
I'm just fine.
One of the aides came over to see what we wanted for dessert. We all decided on ice cream with chocolate syrup. We all get our ice cream but I looked over at Norman, he was the only one that not only got chocolate syrup on his ice cream but also whipped cream and a cherry on top! Apparently I was not the only one taken in by his charm!
I never did find out what Normans announcement was to be. I was released the following day and never had the opportunity to say goodbye to him. Norman was one of those gentle, sweet souls that I considered myself fortunate to meet. He lived in his own little world and I was lucky to get invited in for a small glimpse.
There are the "Normans" of the world. They are the special people that many of us chose to ignore, and when we do……the loss is ours.
And Just when the caterpillar thought that life was over....
She turned into a butterfly!