146 / 365 – No Name

WALTER SVEEN

There was a nice young lady here before, a very nice young lady. I forget her name. I’ve known her sixty years and I forget her name. You might remember her. She had a house on Second Avenue, the one with the big swing on the porch. She was a few years older than me. After high school, I remember walking past her house, back to the center of town. She was always planting flowers in her yard, as soon as it got warm in the spring. She had a young baby then. I think she ended up having four or five children. This one was a girl. She played out on the front lawn, wearing just a shirt and a diaper, and the mother was planting flowers from pots. Whenever we drove by my mother said, Why go to all that trouble to plant flowers when the frost could come again, or snow? But I think she wished she could have some of those flowers, maybe instead of the rows of potatoes we had planted closest to the house. So that her garden would be as beautiful.

I hadn’t seen her in a long time, maybe twenty years. I forget her name. She liked to sit here in this room, by the window, especially in the morning when the sun streaks in. You can’t see the TV so well from this side of the room. She said, Who needs the television when you have the sunshine? That’s probably why she liked being out in front of her house, trimming flowers. Just to get the sunshine.

I wish I could remember her name. It was on her door. I hadn’t seen her in a few days and I went by her room. The door was open and I looked inside. One of the gals from housekeeper, Alyssa, she was in there. Cleaning it out. All her things were gone, the pictures in frames that set on the white lace on top of her table. The old chair she had, a deep maroon. Her walker was always sitting next to it. All gone.

Alyssa told me she had moved. To the other wing. I guess she was having trouble remembering to take care of herself. Sometimes her clothes weren’t on quite right, or buttoned up right. We don’t worry about that here. I don’t, anyway. We’re not a smart-looking bunch, if you know what I mean. No need to send us away, though. I’ve never been to that wing. We don’t go over there. She said I could go, but no one seems to. Once they go, nobody comes back from that side. Over there and then gone. Alyssa said I could go visit her. I will have to do that. I wish I could remember her name.

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