The spring sushine peeped through the broken clouds .T.J. pulled his jacket tighter over his slim body as he parked his car.He crossed the road to the florist shop.“Hi T.J.” greeted Anna, the lady who worked in the florist.”You off to see your lady again today??” ” T.J.smiled at Anna and nodded his head. “Today is special, have you got my flowers ready?” he enquired.Anna went to the back of the shop and came back with the perfect twelve yellow roses and one white rose exactly as T.J. had ordered. “Thanks Anna you are a gem, Grace will love these.”
T.J. collected the roses and went to the confectionery shop a few doors away and selected the best cream fudge.Ladened with his purchases he placed them on the seat next to the cashmere shawl he had purchased the day before.He switched the radio on and started on his journey.
For the last three years T.J. had followed this same route and completed the same journey every Saturday morning.He drove through the iron gates and pulled up into the the parking space available.
Armed with the gifts T.J. pushed open the polished glass door.The receptionist greeted him with a warm smile.”Hi T.J. come to see your lady as usual??She has had a rough night but you will find her in the garden under the cherry blossom” “Thanks” T.J. replied and made his way through the familiar corridor into the garden.
As T.J approached the garden, he glimpsed a forlorn figure sitting on the bench under the cherry blossom .He gasped as he saw how shockingly thin Grace looked. Her thin frail body made him sad.He walked over to her and gently turned her around.”Hey beautiful, you are looking gorgeous as ever” he said as he planted a gentle kiss on her forehead.T.J longed to see some sort of recognition on Graces face but Grace just stared into his eyes without any emotion.T.J consoled himself , thinking in his mind “they may forget what you said but they never forget how you make someone feel.” You know its valentines day today , look I have brought you a present and also your favorite fudge and also wait for it I even remembered your favorite yellow roses.”
T.J unwrapped the beautiful cream cashmere shawl from the tissue paper and placed it around Graces shoulders.The nurses told me you lost your shawl last week so I bought you a new one exactly like your favourite old one.
“Shall we go to the cemertery today? Then maybe we can have some lunch and then we can go and listen to your favourite music.There is band playing in the park pavilion today” said T.J lovingly.
T.J gently helped Grace out of the car ,holding her hand they made their way to the grave.He held out the single white rose and gave it to Grace to put on the stone. He stepped back to allow Grace a few silent moments to gather her thoughts.A single tear trickled out of Graces eye as she gently stroked the stone and carefully laid the white rose on it.
Carefully helping Grace back into the car, T.J pulled a blanket aver her legs .”OK gorgeous time for lunch and then the jazz band, you ready for the time of your life?” joked TJ.The pavilion restaurant was busy but T.J had a regular weekly reservation so a table was already reserved for him and Grace.
They enjoyed a lovely lunch, all the while T.J chattered away about his week. Occasionally Grace would smile on other days she just sat there emotionless and listened to T.J rambling on.
They had coffee whilst the musicians set up their band.The restaurant always had the jazz band on special occasions and Grace loved jazz. The band started to play.Nostalgia filled the air, T.J could sense Grace livening up , a constant dreamy like smile was on her face . It seemed she was lost in thought ,reminiscing maybe even remembering??…or was she?? Can she recall any memories?? …….We are made happy when reason can discover no occasion for it. The memory of some past moments is more persuasive than the experience of present ones.
The band started to play a number and T.J got up from his chair, bowed, and smiling sweetly to Grace asked ” May I have the pleasure of this dance madam??”Gently he helped Grace to her feet and they danced to the music.Grace has always been a beautiful dancer and memories of Grace teaching T.J to dance flooded through T.J’s mind.
The band played the last dance and the music stopped and it was time to take Grace back home. “Did you enjoy your self Grace?”asked T.J as they made their way home. Grace just smiled and squeezed T.J ‘s hand, her way of thanking T.j for the outing.
“You must be tired its been a nice long day” said T.J , “How about I ask the nurse to help you up to your room for a nap before supper?” T.J and the nurse helped Grace up to her room and sat her down in the rocking chair, T.J draped her shawl across her shoulders and as Grace napped he placed a kiss on her forehead and said goodbye. “I’ll see you next saturday Grace be a good girl till then ” But Grace held onto T.J’s hand , gently opening her eyes she stared at T.J , her eyes filled with tears as she squeezed T.J’S hand and whispered “Thankyou”.and then drifted back to sleep.
T.J tiptoed out of the room , and gently closed the door behind him.Overcome with a flood of emotion T.J thought to himself maybe , just maybe today she remembered me???
The evening was drawing to a close , the drive home was slow ,the town centre traffic almost at a standstill as busy shoppers scurrying around with last minute valentine purchases. T.J feeling rather sad and lonely suddenly remembered that he had forgotten to check messages on his cell, all five messages were from Annie, “Hey darling how was your visit? Will be finishing about seven. Miss you, Love you, Annie xxx.
T.J dialled Annie’s number and left a message, hi darling, Happy Valentines day , will pick you up at 8.00. booked table at Viceroy ,Love you T.J.
T.J arrived at the apartment, showered and changed .Pouring him self a glass of wine he placed it on the glass table. Just then the phone rang.
T.J picked it up ” Hello Is that Mr d’souza? This is Sister Mendes fron Oak house nursing home. I am afraid I have some bad news, its about Grace your grandmother she passed away peacefully in her sleep , the nurse found her in the rocking chair when she went to fetch her for supper.I am so sorry .”
T.J was numb with shock, he managed to mumble a thankyou to the nurse before putting the phone down.Tears rolled down his face, all the emotion he had been penting up for the last three years exploded .It had been three years since his Grandma ,Grace had been diagnosed with Altzeimers and T.J was forced to place her in the nursing home . She had got progressively worse as her memory had faded completely.
T.J just hoped that today was special for her, he was sure Grace had recognised him and now he felt certain that she had said her last good bye to him.
T.j thought he will never forget the woman ,the one person who had dedicated her entire life caring and nurturing him since the age of five when his parents had tragically died in a car crash .The woman ,who had been a mother, father and a friend to him .The person who had supported him, inspired him, been there for him through all the highs and lows, shared all his sadness and joys.
Good bye Grace I will always love you………
Copyright (c)2009 Nayna Kanabar