She watched the man shuffle slowly and painfully across the worn carpet
wearing his old faithful slippers. It was his third trip in an hour and
although the last time didn’t hold much in the way of success, he still rose
from his bed and attempted the trip again.
The room was dark, save for the streetlight softly filtering through the
window where the curtain hadn’t been drawn fully. It didn’t offer enough in
the way of lighting the man’s path, but he knew the route by heart. Even so,
when he reached the door he flicked the light switch out of habit. The last
nurse who visited had swapped the light bulb with one of those energy saving
ones, so by the time the man had shuffled down the hallway his bedroom was
still experiencing illumination and would most likely not reach full
capacity before it was switched off again. But this time, she thought, this
time the light would stay on. She could feel it.
She watched the man struggle to get past the three boxes piled in the
hallway, puffing and groaning at the expense of the little energy he had.
Mogley, his cat that had arisen with him, jumped up on the boxes and meowed
at him loudly. The man paused a moment to scratch the old feline behind his
ears, then continued on his way.
When he reached the bathroom he instinctively reached out to turn the light
The bulb flickered twice before burning out, but the man didn’t notice. His
vision had been steadily declining over the last few months and now he moved
through his home by touch and habit alone.
It hurt her to watch him, but she knew that this was his journey and she
could not interfere. He had lived in the old house long enough to be able to
navigate his way around it with his eyes closed, and she drew some comfort
from that. Her heart had broken with his when it became clear that blindness
was not only inevitable, but also swift. It seemed to have sapped the life
from him in more ways than she could have ever imagined. The man she once
knew was just an old broken shell. Some days she hardly recognised him.
Mogley swirled around the man’s legs, meowing loudly and purring for
attention, but the old man only soothed the cat with words as he lowered
himself carefully onto the seat. He puffed with the effort and felt his
muscles relax when he let his whole body weight down.
As quickly as the light bulb had expired the man breathed out for the last
time. He jumped in surprise at the brilliant light shining down upon him,
but it was his beautiful wife standing serenely before him, that truly took
his breath away.
“My darling, I’ve been waiting for you.”