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Her and Him (1 Viewer)


Senior Member
On a small porch in back of the building, people were allowed to smoke and that’s where they met. Both in wheel chairs, him, from a relatively minor spinal chord injury that was major enough to take away his ability to walk. Her, from a stroke she had while swimming in a pool that made her left arm and leg useless. They couldn’t remember when they met but they were sure it was over a cigarette in back of the nursing home.

They were the youngest people there and bonded quickly. They grew to appreciate the same things, good music, jokes and conversation. And despise the same, also. Other patients begging for a hit of their cigarettes, the administration taking privileges away and seeing the physical abuse of patients. He met her daughter, sister and brother. But himself had only rare visits from friends but no family. He was pining for a nurse he had a crush on at another hospital and she came to visit and the hugs meant EVERYTHING to him. But she left, all the women in his life, leave, except one.

She had a hard time using the restroom because she needed assistance. But the Nurse’s aids were always hard to find even when she was assigned to one. She, very often, had to hold it through smoke break and then the search began, again. One time he was tired of her suffering and went with her to her room and starting yelling, “You are all asshole’s”. The nurse came and told her that she had a friend. And she did. They would smoke with their own, nefariously acquired cigarettes, on the patio during off times. She was always very nervous, to the point of paranoia. He tried to calm her and one night caught her eyes and in that moment she understood that he was there for her, no matter what. He could not care any less, he volunteered to take the fall, and did. They came out once and everyone hid their cigarette, except him, he knew they knew. What they wanted was the cigarette lighter. She had lit a couple, we had a small group, but he said it was his lighter, with the tone of ‘I dare you to ask.’ And then they left.

He really had true affection to the point of deep respect for being the woman that she was. She was funny and she listened to him express his pent up feelings. When then they saw a woman who could walk, using a wheel chair, he was incensed and she understood why it affected him so. He will never leave the wheel chair and she can just use it as a ride.
“Calm down, calm down.” she’d say.
“BUT SHE...she...DAMN IT! he said.
“I know you can read my mind 'cause you always look at me before I stash my cigarette in my purse.” she said.
“You GOTTA be able to read me, you know the worst, and I don’t tell that one to a-n-y-b-o-d-y. No, I have nothing to hide from you. You know that...c’mon look at me,” he pointed two fingers in his eyes.

Eye contact is a big deal for him and he knew her, from it. She was more of a friend than mom and regretted it. Though her daughter was beautiful and tough, carrying a stun gun in her purse, and seemed to have her life together and progressing. And she said she was exactly that. He thought her daughter was adorable. She never mentioned anything about husbands. Nor he, girlfriends or wives.

They only saw each other during smoke breaks and in the evening when they would hustle up enough cash to share a soda. It wasn’t enough time for him. The smoking patio could get crowded and people would walk, or roll by her wheelchair and knock her left foot off of it’s peg. He would bend over, in his chair and pick up her foot replacing it to where it should be. Rumors started but they both laughed until he said that he would own it just to shut them up.

“I wanna’ rob a bank in my wheelchair.” he’d say. “You could drive the geataway van.”
“Pfff! I could see you doing it.” she remarked.
“You can drive, right?” he asked.
“Yeah, I can drive.” she said with strings of dirty blonde hair in her face.
“Alright, tomorrow then.” he said. He signaled the man passing out cigarettes to come down and give hers to her. He looked out for her as some kind of natural response, like a reflex. She had been sexually assaulted by the maintainance man. Every time he saw the guy he swore he was going to get him. She had been there a year more than him and he had been bouncing between hospitals for six.

They talked to each other about things they have told nobody else, deep dark secrets. They empathized with each other, they both had uncontrollable leg spasms. Both having similar shattered nervous systems. He couldn’t lay down at night without enduring each of his legs flexing hard in a spasm, so sometimes he remained curled up so he wouldn’t go through it. Her place of safety was her bed, under the blanket, watching throwback TV. Andy Griffith, I Love Lucy, and the like. He didn’t have a TV, making the space between smoke breaks even longer. They haven’t exchanged affection with intention. But he liked to play with her,

“C’mon, let’s get out of here. I can get the car running and you can drive.” he would often say.
“You ARE crazy, aren’t you?” she said with a wink.
“It’s on paper, I’ve gone 5150 sometimes just for somewhere to go.” he said.
“Sometimes I feel like I’m never gonna’ get out of this place.” she said.
“Ahhh, you will, I just have a feeling.” he said and winked back.
At the end of every cigarette break he would lead as they rolled down a gauntlet of people telling them to move, going slow keeping his eye on her behind him. Until he saw her come through the door.
“See ya’ next break.” she said.
“Alright.” he said. Then just sat watching her roll away, wishing there could be more. He had been single since he got sick nearly twenty years ago. And lived for the embrace. A simple embrace.

Her roommate was leaving so it would just be the two of them and their Hispanic sidekick and comic relief. He survived the wiles of drug dealing in Mexico, but just barely. He had been shot many times and was also in a wheel chair and would never leave it. He had been there for 20 some-odd years and spoke broken English but had a together heart. He loved and accepted everyone. His name was Jose. Jose also had feelings for her and was not quiet about it at all, calling her endearing names in Spanish. Jose was his best friend in the building besides her.

Physical intimacy was a distant notion that he knew was logically laughable, she felt the same way. They were as close as they were probably ever going to get to each other. She knew how he felt as he was truly an open book to her. And knew that he most always needed a hug. They embraced one time when he came back from a hospital stay. He would write her every time he went, so as not to disappear from her life. But when he came back this time, he returned with bad news. He had advanced stage cancer, on top of being sick to begin with. He did his best to appear strong and did a good job until their eyes met and she knew without having to say a word.

“C’mere, you’re gonna be alright.” she said also trying to be strong but was pushing emotion down as hard as she could. He fell into her arms, nearly coming out of his chair
“But...” he said.
“Shhhh...don’t give it power.” she said as his body shuttered in her arms and she was about to break. Other’s were gaulking.
“Can I help you? What the hell is your problem?” she said with tears in her eyes, to the others on the patio as she held him, crying hard and silent. She held him against her bosom until he could maintain himself. He then sat up and wiped his eyes.
“OK, no more of that.” he said to her in an, unconsciously loud, whisper. As if to curtail his emotion while erasing the memory of what those around may have witnessed. Not that he really cared, either way. He pulled himself off her and took a deep breath.
“Alright, this is my last ride.” he said.
“DON’T SAY THAT!” she said.
“I’m not dying here, NO fucking way!” he said. “I’m just being realistic, I was given four months.”

Tears flowing as she huffs and puffs. “Are you serious?” she said completely unable to control herself. She loved him but hasn’t said so, at the moment. “C’mere, we gotta talk. This was going to be hard to say to you but not anymore. Ya’ know...I...I have feelings for you and I don’t want you to go anywhere without you knowing that. I...I....I love you.” And her body shuttered as she pouted epic tears moistening the strings of hair in here face.
“I feel exactly the same...I LOOOVE you. Now dry those tears, I’m not going out crying, but laughing. Where’s Jose? Am not telling Jose right now, just need a laugh. Gotta think..I’m not dying here.” he said.
“If you need a shoulder, PLEASE come to me.” she said.
“Will do.” Then leaned in and kissed her in front of everyone even surprising her but she received it willingly. Smoke break was over.
“You ready?” he asked.
“Yep.” she responded. He pulled out and turned toward the gauntlet.
“MOVE!...MOVE!” he paved the way for her. She was never out of site, even though he was moving forward. She entered the door he was straining to hold open for her and she brushed by as she came in. He inhaled the smell of her hair as if it was the last time.
“See you later, OK?” she said broadcasting empathy from her eyes. Which he received loud and clear. She read his mind once when he needed a hug from her. He was a thousand piece puzzle and she was the final, completing piece.

But he would not let himself die here. He was a shyster and could make anything happen. His wheel chair was just a rickety hurdle for him. In his past he scored drugs, in the nursing home, had everyone high by the time he left. But this time it is different. FOR THE FIRST TIME. He doesn’t want that element in his life, at all. But still had those ‘dope fiend’ skills, resourcefulness and persistence. And he wanted out. Not officially discharging, but just leaving, splitting, disappearing. And he knew he could do it, he had in the past. But she MUST go, as well. She was key in the plan. That is where his heart lies, he cannot leave that, he had to watch out for her, even though she did not need it at all. He had to take her.

He endured sessions of chemotherapy and radiation, repetitively. And was tired of feeling drained, all the time. He maintained smoke breaks
and his visits with her. They had hugged and kissed on the patio one night when nobody was around. Absolutely ROCKING his world. Took the discomfort away post haste. But now he’s been tired, a lot.

“Sorry to say this, but have you seen yourself, lately” she said.
“Yeah, I know, I don’t want to die here.” he said, again but with desperation in his voice that she caught. “I gotta get out and score some pot. That’s all that will help me feel good. I know I’m gonna die but do I have to take this walk in misery...I WON’T!...You can drive right? And you love me, right?”
“Yes, of course, I have for a while, but didn’t say anything, unsure of what your response would be...Shit!” she said.
“Oh, babe, the time for regret is gone, be here, with me in this moment, and come close so you can feel this.” he said.
“I can feel you from here.” she said but came closer anyway.
“Then take a good look, READ me! The door is open and I’m leading you by your hand, look around...” he said.
“You’re serious, aren’t you.” she said. He responded with a look. It was the last cigarette of the night. The last time they were seen was on the porch, late.

The next morning staff couldn’t find either of them. Not on the patio, not in their beds, nowhere. The search moved outside and in the parking lot they found two wheel chairs, shadowing the sides of a car, with broken glass under one. And ID bands on both.


Senior Member
A very touching story. A great ending. I could feel fpr them.
Thank you for your time and critique. You said the magic word for me, "feel". With everything I write, I am trying to get that across, to you, my reader.Again, Thank you. Do you say "Cheers" in your country and if so.
Cheers mate...MK.