"George, can you reach me my coat. It’s cold outside." she called from the hallway coming out to the entry way of the home. "Did you hear me?"
"I did." Was the calm reply she heard in the distance.
"Then why don't you get me my coat, George. It's cold outside." she repeated with more aggitation.
"Now George, if I'm ever to be going, I'm gonna need you to get my coat. You know my arm is fit to be tied and I need your help! Are you going to help me or what?"
"I am." Again was the calm distant reply.
She continued to wait looking in the long mirror. She watched how her eyes had aged, her skin had wrinkled and her neck had created sagging attachments of more chins. But her eye was torn to an image of her coat still on the coat rack. The coat was a navy style coat. The color was red with black fake hair along the collar line. This was the coat to have when she wanted to make an impression. When she wanted to go out on the town with George, this was the coat to do it in. She reminisced about the first time she opened the big white box. The red coat was no different now then it was as an anniversary gift forty years ago.
"For pete's sake, George. You've always been slow but this is ridiculous. Just ridiculous! I might as well get it myself and just decorate my arm with it because that's all I'll be able to do! Is that what you bought it for? Well, is it?"
"It isn't." Came the serene voice closer in the hallway to her. "It isn't"
"I can tell you're finally not moving at a turtle's pace when you repeat yourself. Join the ranks, George! Press on and help an old brood out."
"I will." The humble voice said coming closer behind her. "I will."
She knew she would be feeling the cold weak hands of her husband soon enough. She thought of all the times he could be moving slow, this was not one of them. She had places to be and people to impress. Life was still moving and she had to move with it. Age may have stopped him, but not her. She continued to look in the reflection of the mirror at her hair.
"George, I think I created white from my silver hair waiting for you. Is that possible?"
"It is." The reply came closer to her ear in agreeance."It is."
"Well, that was not exactly what I wanted to hear but I imagine you still got it in you, you old coot! Always pulling my chain you are! That's why I married you, you know. Because you keep me on these old ballerina toes you do."
"I do." The voice agreed. "I do."
She took an old boar brush to her hair, straightened her flyaways, and lifted the clip from the table and onto her left handside of her waves to keep them out of her eyes. She thought of the times she had her friends over to curl her hair for her dates with George. Even when she was married she always wanted to look her best for their dates. Now the reflection showed a different set of hair. One of another color she grew to love and she knew he did, too, as he would help her brush it when her hands gave out. She looked behind herself in the reflection. The red coat with black trim was gone off the rack. How she missed that turtle getting it off she'd never figure out.
"Alright George, help mama now."
She put her hands slightly behind her with aches and pains shooting up her arms. She was determined to look her best. She felt the satin lined sleeve slide up her right arm and then her left. She noticed a slight tug to the shoulders as hers winced in soreness. The bright red coat was on. The long ordeal was over and she put her hands down to button the black four buttons up her coat one by one. She glanced longingly at herself; her shiny silver hair, her wrinkled sagging skin, her smile that was appearing as she considered how life had created lines on her like a map.
"Thank you, George. You've always known how to treat this woman right. That's why I keep ya, George. That's why I keep you." She paused staring again at her smile still glowing as she thought of George and their long life together. Dancing, movies, children, guests, relatives, and love. "You make me smile, George. Everything about you, about us, makes me smile. You see this wrinkle between my nose and chin. That's actually a smile. You see it, babe."
"I do." The voice replies happily. "I do."
"Ok, so in this room is George Stans. He's an elderly widow with severe Alzheimer's. He pretty much keeps to himself and in his room. He isn't a flight risk. You see the mirror on the wall?"
"Yeah, the golden one or the issued mirror?"
"Oh, no, the golden one he is standing by with the brush and comb below it. Every night he stands near that mirror talking to himself and lifting different coats up. You may find several of them each night. As long as you put them away when he is sleeping, he never notices."
"Wow, that's intense. What happens if you do it infront of him?"
"Um...he keeps repeating two worded phrases, stuff like that, until you put the coats down. But I have no idea what he is saying."
"What? How could you not know what he is saying?"
"He speaks in German....hi, George!"
"Wow, is he hard of hearing or deaf?"
"Nope, he's just in the moment of what ever it is he does when he is by the mirror....that's three coats on the floor already I see."
"So whose in the next room?"
"Hold on, hold on…this is my favorite part. It's so cute...watch what he does after the coat falls on the floor."
"Alright, Mr. Stans. Come give Mrs. Stans a kiss kiss my sweet man. I'm on my way out but I will be back in a few! Don't wait up just keep a light on for this old blind bat...ok now...pucker up sweet lips!" She put her wrinkled lips together, closed her eyes, and turned around waiting for his soft lips to meet hers. When they did she kept them there to remember that moment till the next time she could kiss him again. She quickly turned around to the mirror, gave one last glance at herself, and opened the door looking out at the thickened snow.
"It's a cold night, babe. Burrrr...I'm already frozen as tilapia! Put some oil on me, turn me over and fry me, George! Ha ha ha! Goodnight, George, goodnight." She sang out as she walked down the entry stairs and shut the door.
"Goodnight, Rose" The voice whispered. "Goodnight."
(when proofreading I got a bit teary. I have a soft spot for elderly having worked with them for 3 years a few years ago...)