I’ve been married a long time too…I think
Charlie Wilkins had everything he wanted—a husband, a daughter, a house that was his home. He still has his husband, but William has forgotten who he is. He still has his daughter, but the roles have switched, and she is now the one taking care of them.
There is only one thing Charlie wants, and that is to spend the rest of his days with William by his side. But William is living in a nursing home, and Charlie is living…somewhere. Ann says she will fix it; she’ll make sure they’ll get to live together again. Charlie hopes she will before William either escapes or figures out Charlie has left him in someone else’s care.
(Part of Never Too Late – a collection of nine stories featuring LGBTQIA characters over the age of fifty)
I’d fought long and hard to convince William I was the one for him; I’d promised we would stick together no matter what. I wouldn’t betray my promise for something as trivial as a glitch in memory.
William hadn’t forgotten me; he just didn’t realise I was now an old man.
Ann shook her head and bent down to kiss my cheek. “I love you, Dad.”
“And I you, Princess.”
She put on her jacket and walked towards the door. A few grey hairs mixed with the dark, her eyes were tired, and her motions had lost the fluidity of a young woman.
She was still my little girl, though. Would always be.
I got up and moved to sit in the empty armchair next to William.
“Did she leave?”
“Yeah, she’ll be back next week.”
“I don’t get why they let her in. I mean, what is this place where they let confused women walk around without anyone looking after them?” William turned to look at me, his brown eyes sparkling, and I couldn’t stop the way my heart did a double beat. “And what about you? Are you some old man who’s escaped from a nursing home, too?”
“Yes.” I grinned at him. “Yes, I am.”
“Cool, man. When I get old, I’m gonna run, too. Never let them trap you, I say. The moment you let them fetter you to a bed your life is over.”
Pain stabbed at my heart, but I kept my smile in place and nodded. William had always feared nursing homes. When the signs had started to show, I’d vowed to myself, and him, that I never would put him in one, but things spiralled out of my control.
William would hate me if he realised what I’d done.
“Hey, do you want to get out of here?” William nodded towards the door. “I know a place where they make great burgers. My husband takes me there when he wants something. He thinks I never notice him buttering me up before asking.” William laughed. “Maybe we can ask him to come down if he isn’t too busy working. He could use a break, always trying too hard.”
I wet my lips and nodded. “Maybe in a little while. Can we watch some TV first?”
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