I walked into room 112, the lone man was sitting staring out the window, he was a new resident here, I came to say hi and welcome him to the facility. I always welcome every new resident. I looked at his name on the wall next to his door. I put on a smile and walked to his side. I felt him jump slightly. He did not hear me coming. I apologized. I smiled again and introduced myself. He only looked at me, sad emptiness in his eyes. He never spoke a word. I said my goodbye and left him to be alone once more. My room was only across the hall, and if I sat in my recliner I could see him lying in bed. I did not go and talk to him again. He never talked to anyone, and no one came to talk to him. The only visitors he had were the nurses coming to check on him and help him with his daily routine. No one from outside the facility came. I watched him day after day. He never even turned on the TV. He just sat all day long and stared out the window of his room. He never spoke or came out of his room. I was sitting in my recliner watching him lie their one-day, he looked over at me. I looked away, not wanting him to see me watching him. I looked up, but only slightly, not enough for him to see me look. I saw him twitch his finger. I looked up, he looked me straight in the eyes, and motioned for me to come. I slowly looked around wondering if he was talking about me. I was the only one he could see. I sat up straighter and climbed out of my recliner. He motioned again. I came to my doorway and looked around. No one was in sight. I looked at him. His eyes were fixed on me. I wondered what he could possibly want. He did not even know me. I walked into his room. Once again he motioned me closer. I walked closer. I got right up next to him. He grabbed my hand, he looked into my eyes with those empty sad eyes. I wondered what he thought about when he stared out that window. I looked out the window, all I saw was the snow covered ground. There was not anything out of the ordinary, just the snow, a few trees, and the building next to ours. I saw nothing, but emptiness. I pulled up a chair next to him and sat down. I saw a hint of smile pass over his face. I am not sure why this pleased me the way it did, but I felt pure joy when I saw that. He turned back toward the window and started to stare again. I sat with him for a while longer, until I saw him start to doze off. I tucked his blanket in closer to him and walked back to my room. I crawled into my own bed and pulled the covers up to my chin. I stared out my window still trying to see what he saw. I startled myself awake. I looked at the clock. I slept for a little over 30 minutes. Not long enough I thought. I crawled out of bed, straightened my sheets, and sat down in my recliner. I turned on the TV. Nothing was on, and I knew that, it was just a way to pass the time. No one was supposed to come to see me today. I glanced over and noticed that the lone man was awake again. He was not staring out the window this time, he was staring at me again. I got up and went back over to his room. I sat down in the chair I left last time. He did not smile this time, but stared out the window again. We never said anything. I never even heard his voice, but I knew he thought of me as a friend. Just by the way he held my hand each and every day while he stared out the window. My friend and I visited each other for almost a year. Then one day I woke up to the sound of voices. I crawled out of bed and looked into the hall. The hall was crowded with people. I tried to get into my friend’s room, but was stopped by a nurse. She told me I could not see him today. I never asked her why. I went back into my room and laid back down. I learned later that my friend had suffered from a massive stroke. He did not make it through. I never even got to saw goodbye. A couple months later, I was staring out the window of my room, as I had grown accustomed to doing. I was watching the snow fall slowly to the ground, when I finally understood my friend. He was watching and waiting for his time to leave this place and join all of the people he knew in Heaven. The snow reminded him of all of the people that had come and gone in his life. The few flakes that stuck to the window, were the ones that had made a difference in his life. My friend never said a word but he had a huge impact on my life. I left the facility a couple of weeks later and even now as I see the snow fall every winter, I think about the lone man and how much he actually said through the silence.
The Lone Man
May 26, 2010