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A Silent Sleep

18 Jan

“When I was living here….” Roy started talking. His wrinkled face is excited to see the places where his memories sleeping. He lived here for many years. Today is his eightieth birthday, and he wanted to visit this place. He served in the army and he took care of his old parents. He never got married. He doesn’t have any family whom he is close to. His eyesight got poor during the years, and he couldn’t drive anywhere anymore. That is why I took him today.

Roy lives next door in our apartment complex. I met him scolding someone not putting their trash in the right bin. His loud voice and passion made me look and he was happy to get someone to talk to. Since then whenever we met, we stood there for hours and talk. He lived in this apartment alone for ten years. He is very familiar with the surroundings and people, and he was happy to take a walk to the nearby restaurant.

He is slow, but I enjoyed his company. When he talks, there is passion in his voice. He talks about things he cared and people should be caring. I may not be seeing him for a while since it is the busiest time of the year at work.

“Bye, Roy…I will see you soon”. I started to leave after hearing the reminder call from my wife. She is amazed to see how patient I am with this old man.

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“Why you are selling all these, Roy”. My wife asked him with a perplexed look. Roy displayed all his belongings to sell.

“I have to go from this apartment.” He seemed so down.

“What happened, Roy?”. I was concerned. I felt bad for not visiting him for the past weeks.

“Betty is the one who did this to me. How can she do that to me? Can I ever harm little kids or any others?” He broke in tears. Something serious must have happened. I know that woman; she used to take care of Roy’s bills and took him for his haircut and all. She knows him for the past ten years.
He explained everything with choking voice.

Roy always felt very bad for making others do things for him due to his poor eyesight. He talked about suicide several times to me. He talked about a gun he had for several years. Whenever he tells that, I took it lightly. I knew that he is a person of integrity and his feeling of helplessness.

This time, he talked all that to Betty and even show her his old gun. Betty seemed so upset since there are neighbors and kids living around. She informed the police, and they took him and the guns to the police station. Police kept the guns and made Roy observed by some doctors making sure of his mental capacity. They told him to stay in an assisted living home-where old people live. The apartment manager couldn’t let him stay there anymore. Roy had to leave soon.

I didn’t know what to say to Roy. My wife seemed so upset to hear all that. She also heard many stories of him and his military experiences.

“Roy, remember… you were a soldier. You have a brave heart. You are a good person. You cannot harm anyone. We know you. Sometimes people get upset hearing about suicide or seeing a gun. But it was very unfortunate that she did all these after knowing you for many years. But please don’t get upset, everything will be alright. We are here for you, we will help you.” She hugged him with wet eyes.

He felt little better that someone understood his feelings. I heard that some of his far relative is helping with his move and all. My wife even talked with Betty, who felt she did right for him.

I thought “Yes, it was good for him to be in an assisted living, but this could’ve been in a different way…giving Roy little more respect”.

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The visiting area is decorated with plants. There is a piano sitting in the corner. I could see the sofa and the dusty corners. I saw the woman scolding some kids who were playing in the piano. The dining hall is next to the entrance. All the people can eat their food there. They can go to the nearby shop and walk wherever they want.

Roy is living in the second floor. When I walked with my little kids and wife, all the eyes were following us…. lit to see little kids. Those eyes always see only the white hair, wheel chairs, walking sticks and shivering voices.

The hall seemed endless with many doors with names on it. I could hear if a pin drops there. Everyone is in their own world of silence. We stopped seeing Roy’s name.

“Roy, are you in there”? I called at the door.

Roy was sitting in the chair from his apartment. Most of his glass shelf was empty. He had many years of collections….where is everything gone?

“I don’t know what happened. I didn’t get all my belongings. My good coat and…..” Roy said with no feelings.

What is today…I don’t know what day…time…is now. See, I cannot read anything. I have to wake up when bell rings…I don’t walk anywhere too.” Roy seemed older than he is.

“Roy, this is a nice place…good food.” I tried to comfort him.

“I just wished not to wake up….I wish to sleep forever.” He sat back in his chair.

The time seemed like it stopped to move. The silence is creeping everywhere with darkness. The window seemed like it doesn’t want to let the light come inside.

When I was leaving, my heart wished that for him too…. a silent sleep!

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