Thoughts on My Very Best Gift on Christmas Eve

From Epilogue in Lloyd’s Story Tree: The Mailbox Caper 

The morphine left its mark. My emotional responses grew less stable; I grew increasingly reflective. I understood aging—our parts wear out—but I had given little thought to relationships. I cherished each friend. Falling in love? That was for kids. How wrong I was!

As I resumed evening chats with Norma, I realized how much I had missed her. I took every opportunity to be with her. One morning we joined the group in the lobby waiting for the mailman. Spirits ran unusually high. The mail finally came and the group moved toward the mailboxes, Norma just ahead of me. She collected her mail and befitting the jovial mood she kissed me then turned to the elevator. Something walloped me. I elbowed to my mailbox, arthritic fingers struggling with the key. The lock finally yielded and I snatched my mail and hurried to the elevator, gripped by a compelling desire to hold Norma and tell her I loved her.

The elevator finally came and I punched floor three, the library. Norma was gone. I didn’t dare knock on her door. I grabbed a book and sat two hours pretending to read, hoping Norma would appear to check returned books. I returned to my apartment but lunch held no interest. Back to the library. I puttered through the afternoon. Time dragged. I finally gave up. Supper was out of the question.

Early winter darkness fell. I fired up the computer and began a mushy love letter, fully intending to delete it. Dearest Norma, please don’t laugh, but I’ve fallen in love with you. Clichés worthy of a lovesick teen tumbled out. Writing brought some relief and I read the screen one last time. I reached for delete, be foolhardy abandon swept over me. I hit print, found an envelope and padded down the hall to 313.

I returned to my apartment in near panic. What kind of fool was I?  Surely she would laugh! It was a long, long night. I was making morning coffee when I heard a knock on my door.  Norma stood there, love letter in hand. And she wasn’t laughing.

Old Grandpa Lloyd