The woman’s lip quivered as she watched her husband regale their grandchildren with tales of days from fifty years past. There was one about a monkey named Diana and another about a man in the Marines, and a more recent one about ending up a beauty parlor in just his swim trunks and a towel.
Suddenly, the woman realized she was holding her breath, trying to freeze the moment. At her very core, she resisted movement forward towards the undeniable future. She inhaled deeply of the stuffy air around the table and blinked back the tears that threatened to constantly fall.
The man’s voice grew weaker and started to crackle as he continued his story telling. A bag with tubes gurgled and percolated as it pulled liquid from an open wound in an undisclosed location under his baggy shirt and pleated pants. He tapped his plastic cup with cartoon turkeys marching along the rim against the side of the table. The woman, now breathing but with a still quivering lip, stood to fill his cup with punch. Not so long ago, she would have resented the same request, but not anymore. Now, it was something to do to be useful and needed and she was grateful.
Meanwhile, the man bravely marched through the fields and belly crawled through the jungles of his memory; afraid that if he stopped, he would find himself at the edge of the universe with nothing left to hold him back.