Staff Sargent Gordon McConnell (retired) woke up in the veteran’s hospital the next day. He was a bit disoriented and did not remember much about the day before, only that he had been yelling. There was an IV in his arm, along with a lot of doctors and nurses, running around.
They asked him a lot of questions. Was he taking his diabetes medication? He couldn’t remember. Had he been diagnosed with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) in the past? He honestly couldn’t remember much of anything, but he did remember taking pills every day, that is until……until his wife…died. Everything went downhill after that.
The Army sent psychologists to his room to ask him questions but he wouldn’t say much. He didn’t trust them. He never did trust officers, they seemed to know more about paperwork, than about war, at least that was his experience. Besides he knew he had a memory problem, and he didn’t want to trust anyone except the nurses, because they gave him the medication he needed and they were nice to him.
He had a visitor everyday as well. A nice guy – he wore a suit all the time, and a fancy one at that. What was his name? Was it…..? Yes, it was John. He trusted John. He told John everything, day after day, at least what he could remember.
He told John that he did have an apartment once, and told him about where it was. One day he had gotten lost and days later, when he thought he had found it, his key did not work. So he had been on the streets ever since. “Was that after your wife died?” Gordon couldn’t hold back the tears when John asked him that, but he shook his head. “Was her name….Beverly?” John asked softly. Gordon shook his head yes again, and wept with his face in his hands.
John Stancill worked quickly to find Gordon’s apartment, and to see what had happened to it. The woman at the rental office wasn’t too friendly, and seemed to enjoy telling him, that Gordon McConnell was in the process of being evicted. The rent was two months past due. He held back his anger, but he did ask, if she knew that Mrs. McConnell had died recently. “Well…no…I’m sorry”. She changed her tune even further when John got out his check book, and took care of everything.
John and Gordon became good friends. The Army wouldn’t release Gordon to go home by himself, so John promised to pay for in home nursing care six days a week. John himself would be there on Sundays. At first the Army said no, but then John showed them his investment portfolio. Even John was surprised at how much he was worth now. This got him thinking that maybe, just maybe, he could try a different type of work, and do something he always wanted to do.
He visited Gordon almost every night, and brought pizza, Gordon’s favorite. Gordon became like a father to him, and gave him great advice, including about women.
One night John came visiting without his suit and tie on, instead he wore a sweater and blue jeans! He told Gordon he had left his rat race job that made him work around the clock. He had enrolled in a cooking school, and loved it. He loved the fast pace of it, and more importantly the aspect of being creative. He felt alive again!
He had time now for reading books, going for long walks, and yes even dating. He met a girl at school he really liked. Her name was Susan, and she had a great personality. She was always making jokes, which forced him to not take his self so seriously (a problem he knew he had). She was sensitive though too, and well…um….there was also her appearance! Gosh.
Gordon didn’t know if John would marry Susan or not, but he was hoping he would live long enough to see it if they did get married, and that there would be enough of his own mind left, so he could remember it all.
Please remember the homeless this holiday season. Just one life can make an incredible difference, and we all have value! Peace!
Writing © Copyright 2014, nicodemasplusthree