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Drifting Away

By Taylor Dixon

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Silvery flakes drifted down, glittering in the bright light of the moon. He stood there in the middle of the falling star like flakes, blue creeping up on his fingertips and lips. But, in his eyes, it was summer. The baby blue sky, the full trees, and the green grass, and that one tree in the middle of the park where a girl with hair as smooth as silk, flowing in the wind, sat. One foot after the other, he made his way over to her. He sat down beside her, on the freshly cut grass, but in reality, he sat down in the frigid, white snow.

************

“It’s only the start.” The doctor was a middle-aged man with jet black hair and sad eyes that have seen many tragedies throughout his medical career. The old man sat with his hands folded tightly, resting on his lap, to keep them from shaking. He only forgot his son for a minute. In his defense, the last time he saw him was a year ago. But, now he was sitting here in the white tiled room, hearing words that seemed unbelievable.

“Alzheimer’s? It couldn’t be Alzheimer’s. I might be old but I have a great memory,” Jones thought to himself.

“Mr. Jones? Mr. Jones?”

“Uh?” The doctor pulled him out of his thoughts, bringing Jones back to see his son sitting in the chair, looking at him.

“Can you tell me what today’s date is Mr. Jones?”

“December 5, 2009.”

“Very good.” He turned to the old man’s son and explained to him that questions like this would need to be asked frequently. His son just shook his head at everything, having a blank expression on his face.

“C’mon Dad. Let’s go.”

**************

“You’re pathetic.” He sat there looking up at his son, who completely changed from what the old man thought his son to be. His boys face was red, and his eyes full of hate.

“What? What do you mean?” Jones said.

“I have a life. I have a wife, kids and a job. I cannot and I will not drive 2 hours every other day to come and ‘play doctor’ with you. After all of those years not being there for your only child, you really expect me, out of all people, to be there for you?”

“I thought I was a good dad to you. I tried the best I could.”

“Yeah, well your best wasn’t enough. After mom died, you didn’t care about me. I’m sorry Dad, but I have my life to live.” His son disappeared out the door, and the sound of an engine and gravel crunching could be heard through the walls of the house.

The old man sat there, not moving an inch. He looked around, and it took him a minute to remember where he was. He got up as fast as his old, worn out legs could carry him and made his way to his bedroom.

**************

“Hey Mr. Jones, how are you today?” The young lad that worked at his gas station, greeted him, with a tip of his hat and a smile.

“Fine. Thank you.”  He didn’t like small talk all that much so he just made his way inside. He walked into his office.

“What are you doing in my office,” he said to a rounded man with a chubby face.

“Mr. Jones? It’s me, Johnny.”

“No! I don’t know who you are! I demand to know what kind of sick joke this is! This is my office, MY gas station! And, I will call the police if you do not leave!” Suddenly, he stopped and just stared.

“Mr. Jones. Let me take you home. You look exhausted.”

“What? Where am I? How did I get here?”  Jones honestly didn’t recall how he got there. He now knew where he was but he didn’t know how. He was slowly starting to drift away.

**************

He sat in his room letting the darkness engulf him. The last few days were a blur. He would end up somewhere and not remember where he was. The cops escorted him home every now and then because people were afraid he would get hurt. He didn’t know his neighbor when he showed up at his door. He couldn’t remember where he was half the time and he didn’t know the beautiful lady that sat on his nightstand beside his bed. Although, she seemed oddly familiar.

**************

Jones sat beside her bedside and held her hand.

“Don’t leave me. Please.” He begged her, but he knew she couldn’t do anything about it.

“Take care of our son. He needs you.” She smiled up at him. He couldn’t believe this was happening.

“I love you.” The beeping noise caught him off guard, indicating she was gone.

Days passed and she was buried underneath the tree where they had met, and dreamed of a life together.

He was at the entrance of the hospital. When he walked inside, he went up to the desk.

“I’m here to visit Mary Jones please.”

The nurse at the desk looked through her chart.

“I’m sorry sir, but there seems to be no Mary Jones in this hospital.”

“This must be some type of mistake. My wife, she isn’t doing well,” he choked back his tears. “I need to see her!” He pounded his fist on the desk, making people turn their heads.

“Mr. Jones?” A security guard had made his way to the front desk.

“She won’t let me see my wife. I need to see her before anything happens,” he explained with a slight quiver in his voice.

“Mr. Jones. C’mon. Can I arrange a ride home for you?” the security guard asked.

“Uh?”

“C’mon Mr. Jones, let me call you a taxi.”  The security guard placed his hand on Jones’s shoulder leading him down the hospital corridor.

**********

“Dad will you be at my baseball game?” His seven year old son, with his blue uniform on and his baseball in his hand, reminded him of himself when he was little.

“Sorry bud, I can’t today,” he said. Ever since his wife died, he didn’t want to do anything. He knew his son needed him but the boy needed his mother also, and he needed his wife.

“Oh ok. I guess I understand.” The look on his son’s face made his heart shatter.

“You know what? I just might be able to make it.” His son’s smile brightened the room.

“Great! The game starts at 1:00!” he yelled over his shoulder as he ran out to the car that waited to take him to the game.

It was one o’clock, the snow falling lightly, making the day seem more frigid than it already was. Mr. Jones sat there with a baseball shirt on, pants and a baseball cap. No coat.

One of his old friends was out and saw him. He made his way over to him.

“Bill? What are you doing? It’s freezing out here!!!”

“Well, I’m waiting for the game to start. My son is the best one on the team, you know? I told him I wouldn’t miss this one.”

The old friend looked at him. He knew Mr. Jones’s mind was drifting away, but he didn’t realize it could get this bad, this quick.

“C’mon Mr. Jones, unfortunately the game has been cancelled. Let’s get you inside.”

**************

Now, Mr. Jones sat in a nursing home. Confined in the walls of this “prison”. He couldn’t remember much of how he got there. Nurses would come in his room, checking up on him. It became a regular routine of them asking him odd questions like “What is your name?”, or “What year is it, Mr. Jones?” Somehow, he would always give the wrong answer. On this particular day, a nurse came in and sat down beside him.

“Hello Mr. Jones. I have some pictures here today that I would like you to look at.” She held up a picture of where Mr. Jones used to work. The old gas station that he “visited” earlier that week.

“That’s my gas station. I’m supposed to be working today, but I’m stuck in this god-forsaken place.”

The women shook her head and moved to the next picture. This picture was a picture of his son as a little boy in his baseball uniform.

“That’s my boy. He is a great baseball player. I never saw him play before. The one I went to got canceled.”

“Can you tell me who this is, Mr. Jones?” She held up a picture of a young woman. She looked very familiar.

Mr. Jones studied the picture, tried to find a memory in his mind of this young lady, but he couldn’t.

“Um… Am I supposed to know her? “ He studied the picture again. Nothing.

**************

Mr. Jones didn’t know where he was going but he kept on walking. Finally, he made it to a park. In his hands, was a single yellow flower that was withering away. He had taken it from the nursing home before he left. He had found it to be beautiful.  Its petals were small and broken, and every time the frosty wind blew, a petal drifted away, much like the old man.

Silvery flakes drifted down, glittering in the bright light of the moon. He stood there in the middle of the falling star like flakes. Blue creeping up on his fingertips and lips. But, in his eyes, it was summer. The baby blue sky, the full trees, and the green grass, and that one tree in the middle of the park where a girl with hair as smooth as silk, flowing in the wind, sat. One foot after the other, he made his way over to her. He sat down beside her, on the freshly cut grass, but in reality, he sat down in the frigid, white snow.

He looked at her, smiled.

“I knew I could never forget you. Now I won’t have to worry about you drifting away from me anymore. I almost forgot you, you know? I’ve been having trouble remembering things lately. It’s hard being old.” He chuckled.

“That doesn’t matter anymore, Bill. And, you never forgot me in your heart, just that big brain of yours.”

“But, I just don’t know what to do anymore, Mary. I keep forgetting things. I end up somewhere, but I don’t know how I get there.”

“Bill, your mind is taking you back to the places in your past that you remember the most that affected you deeply. Do you know where you are now?”

“Of course I do. This is where we first met. I love this tree. After you died, I came to this tree every day. I guess I thought you would always come back and make things better.”

“Well, I’m here now. I’m here to take you home, Bill.”

He looked at her, with tears forming in his eyes. “You mean I get to come with you, and be with you forever now? No more drifting in and out of reality, and having to suffer?”

She shook her head. “We are going home now.”

He started to shiver as coldness crawled up his back and around his face. Her hand tangled with his, causing warmth to shoot through his body.

“Are you ready?” she asked.

He had never been more ready for anything in his life.  Mr. Jones sat at the base of the tree, his little heart finally gave out but a little smile remained on his face.

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Drifting Away