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  • Her palsied hands shook and her brow furrowed. Uncomprehending eyes looked at him like a cry for help from her wheelchair trapped body. She was a typical resident at any nursing home in the valley.

    His van was full of flowers to be delivered.

    Six different stops to fulfill wishes and dreams.

    Normally he handed the arrangements to the aide at a desk. Today they just pointed to her room. He was unfamiliar and unsure how to proceed. This wasn't his job...or was it?

    He smiled at her while holding the flowers in front of him. His cheerful patter caused no change in her, but her eyes shifted from his face to the flowers and back again.
    He looked for a suitable spot to set it down and could only find a folding tray by the window. He didn't wait for permission either by words or nod, but began unwrapping the arrangement so she could see it's beauty.

    He hoped seeing the flowers would make her smile. But, if it was there, it was too fleeting to catch. There was a card. He handed to her. She held the unopened envelope with the card inside and slowly raised her eyes. He asked if she would like him to open it and read it to her, as he gently took the card from her shaking fingers. No words were spoken or needed. He opened the card and read the inscription aloud to her. He thought he saw a brief flash of recognition at the names. He folded the card open before he handed it back to her, so she could see what he had read.

    As he touched her hand while taking his leave, she held his fingers for a moment and looked into his eyes. No words; no smile; no change of expression; just the mirror to her soul connecting to his. She released him and he breathed the cold winter air as he exited the nursing home.

    He felt conflicting emotions: a relief at his escape and dread at the future he saw in her soul. He started the van and, as the aroma of fragrant flowers lifted his spirits, he remembered a line that Bette Davis once said at an interview: "Old age ain't no place for sissies." He smiled and looked forward to making the next person happy.

    It was all he had to offer. Normally it was enough.
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