My eyes met Sgnieszka’s as she sat on a park bench under a tree last summer. I went bananas for the pooch and fell hard for her old man, too.
They took me home to meet Eddy’s longtime sweetheart Junya and yanked me into their triangle of love. We got right down to business; chug-a-lugging tea and popping sweets on the terrasse. They dropped the amazing stories of their lives into my lap while Sgniezka had a smoke, after a cookie and a crap on the floor at our feet.
Despite a daily battle with acute asthma, Junya takes care of Eddy. Since his stroke, he speaks and moves in a slow-motion dance that tests the patience of true love. Junya takes it as it comes. My elderly pals have taught me that there is no time like the present, and in their case, no time for anything but.
I go see Eddy on the first day of spring. I want to help but he won’t let me. I watch him inch his way towards me, slippers scuffing the floor. Time is running out. His mind is pared down to its core. He looks into my eyes and says one word.
Sgniezka is dead.
I nod again. I know. Eddy and Junya put her to sleep in a winter storm. Our eyes lock and he doesn’t blink. My heart cracks. I know what’s coming. I got the news when Eddy’s son in-law left me a comment on this blog. I wished it was spam but I knew it wasn’t.
Junya is dead.
In his thick Polish accent, Eddy tells me.
I lost my wife.
I nod, I touch his arm. The clock ticks. His mind skips. He looks into my eyes for a long time.
When Junya was alive, she would speak on Eddy’s behalf. Now, he speaks for himself. Eddy knows he’s lucky because their daughters, son in-law and grandson are close by.
I’m a lucky man, he says over and over, I am not alone.
Lalka. A new-born puppy yelps and stirs in Eddy’s lap. His daughter knew he needed a friend. When the snow melts, he will take her to his park bench under the tree. Lalka settles into Eddy’s arms and licks his heart clean.
‘I am not alone’ is the 5th part of a series on the adventures of my triangle of love. Here is Home, Sweet Home, the 6th.
Enjoy the previous ones and let me know what you feel…
FAN THE FLAMES: My dear readers, would you help produce this series of love stories about an old man and a puppy – as a book?? If so, please…
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