March 21, 2005

A Strange Bedmate

Years ago we had a elderly couple who lived around the corner, Clayton and Irene. Just a lovely little couple who had married after their first spouses had died. They would take slow walks holding hands, circling the block. And if I was fortunate enough, I would catch them as they passed our home. We'd chat for a minute and they would continue on. This excercise was obviously for health reasons, the gentleman being the weaker of the two. I wrote my number on a small piece of paper one evening and told Irene to please call if she ever needed us.

One night the phone rang around 1am. "They've taken my husband to the hospital and I am very afraid to be alone." I dressed and went right over. She said they had assured her Clayton was okay but she asked if I could I stay the night with her. I agreed and relaxed on the guest room bed nearby. "Are you okay Irene?" I called to her in the darkness after we had both settled in. A tiny little voice said, "No....would you mind sleeping in here?"

Her tiny frame had learned to hug the edge of the bed, so her large husband could have more room to rest. I stretched out on his side of the bed, half wondering how I had actually landed there sleeping next to a woman I hardly knew. Before long I heard the purr of her sleeping...she never awoke as I slipped out and went home the next morning.

Clayton died shortly after that, I never saw Irene again but I pray she's enjoying life with her son and grandchildren somewhere. I've never been very good at keeping up with people. But you never know who you might end up sleeping with.