I came home from working an evening shift at the hospital and found a package from Mr. Greta on the dining room table. It was wrapped in brown paper and plastered with stamps. My children were in bed and Arnie was asleep on the sofa with a magazine on his chest and the television blaring.
As I turned off the television, Arnie mumbled in protest, “I’m watching that.” His eyes were closed when I looked at him. Slowly, he lapsed back into the long, slow breaths of deep sleep.
At the dining room table, I ripped open the package and found a set of Laura Ingalls Wilder books. I knew if Arnie had been awake, he would’ve been teasing me about my elderly boyfriend who liked sending gifts.
Pushing the torn wrapping paper aside, I examined them and wondered how despite loving to read, I had managed to reach adulthood without being familiar with them.
My correspondence and friendship with a man born 47 years before me, was hard to explain. I liked to think of our friendship as a divine gift. Although I seldom mentioned how stressful my life was to my elderly friend, the cares dissipated as we doled out bits and pieces of our lives to each other. Continue reading