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Ice Cream Cake
The end is winding down. He’s stubborn, sneaky, very smart, and extremely hard to please. He doesn’t want to be there, but his family insists he stays at an assisted living facility during the winter for his safety. When summer arrives you can guarantee that he’ll be back on his farm with all the loud machines that have made it so he can barely hear anything, and that have also made him the most well-known farmer around. His workers strive to be the hardworking man he once was, and still is.
Now he’s almost ninety seven years old. Normally someone that age would have already passed, or be in a nursing home. He drives a white Cadillac, and loves John Deere. He’s tall, slender, and his once brown colored hair is now the color of the feathers on a baby bald eagle. He is very unique, and so is his name, Torges.
It’s fall now, meaning he’s at the assisted living place he hates. He never comes out for meals, so they bring them to his room, and he never talks to anyone. People say that he’s just that hard of hearing and that’s why he never says anything, but in reality he’s just ignoring them.
A teenage girl started working at the assisted living facility and changed everything. Her name was Lilith, and she cared about the residents more than herself sometimes. She treated them like they were her own grandparents, and made sure they got whatever they wanted.
She noticed how Torges would never talk, never come out of his room, and always had a scowl on his face. Eager to make him happy out of curiosity, and because she assumed that his unhappiness came from loneliness started to stay a few minutes after she got off work to keep him company.
She got him an ice cream cake for his 97th birthdays because she had never seen anyone visit, not even his family. She didn’t want him to not have a cake for his birthday. She got him a John Deere tractor designed cake. When she showed him the cake it was the first time she had ever seen him smile. His whole face lit up like she had just told him that he could live at home year round. He showed the cake to everyone that came in his room because he was so proud of it, and showed it off to everyone.
For the next several times she worked he seemed very happy to see her. One night she went to his room, and asked him if he would come out to supper. He stood up and followed her to the dining room. She was completely shocked considering his response before when she asked was not an answer at all.
He eventually embarked his way out to meals on his own. He also began babbling to the people that lived in the assisted living, and became friends with most of them. Habitually he would have a straight face because it was normal for him, but whenever he caught a glimpse of Lilith, his baby blue eyes would light up and a smile would gamut across his face from ear to ear.
The girl worked every day and if he ever needed something that he didn’t have she would go to the store after she got off, and get it for him. She treated him like he was her own grandpa. People that she worked with told her that she shouldn’t get attached to him, because people don’t live forever.
Time lingered by and the winter was almost over. Spring was on its way, and soon Torges would be on his way back to his farm all alone. She didn’t want him to leave because it would be like an empty spot in her heart while he went home. Lilith always worried too much, so she was nervous that if he fell nobody would be there to help him, and if he got sick he’d be too stubborn to go to the doctor. She worried that if he passed away she would never get to see him again.
Spring passed, summer alighted, and Torges surprisingly was still living at the assisting living. People knew why he loitered; it was because he was happy there. Lilith had made it so he was able to like living there. When he used to go home for the summer it was because he would have rather been lonely at his own home rather than somewhere where he did not care to be at all. She made it so he knew all the other tenants, had friends to talk to, and all around a happier person with a better attitude about having to live at the assisted living.
She soon found out that his family came as much as they could, but came during the day when she wouldn’t be working so she never saw them visit. Eventually they started coming at nights and she saw them more often. He had a daughter Luana, who would visit the most and would fly in at least twice a month from Pennsylvania to see him. His two sons were Denny and Grant. Denny was shorter than his siblings and Torges by a shocking amount. He was an extremely nice person; there wasn’t a mean bone in his body. Grant was a younger spitting image of Torges, and had the same personality as him.
Winter came abrupt that year and pneumonia was diffusing rampantly through the nursing home and had made its way over to the assisted living like a wild forest fire. Lilith knew that it wasn’t always a good turnout when elderly folks caught pneumonia. Torges had recently been in the hospital for Congestive Heart Failure. His immune system wasn’t up to par, and he was the perfect victim for pneumonia to snag because there was a very little chance he would be able to overcome it. She knew he wasn’t feeling one hundred percent, so she made sure when he came back he got whatever he wanted. He was almost back to normal when the illogical for her happened.
When she went into work she got report that Torges was once again admitted into the hospital. After she got off work she went up to see him. He didn’t acknowledge her at all. She continued to go up there, and talk to whichever one of his children were there. Languidly he was well enough to go back to the nursing home, but not nearly well enough to go to the assisted living. At the nursing home he was put on hospice, meaning he had six or less months to live. His daughter was always there, and if she had to leave for some reason you could guarantee she would make sure Denny or Grant would be there to stay with him.
Lilith visited him as much as she could, which was at least once a day. His taste buds weren’t the same as when he was young so anything he ate would taste blah to him. Torges wouldn’t eat anything they served him at the nursing home. Since he wasn’t eating Lilith always brought him fresh purple grapes, which he absolutely loved. She would bring him anything she could think of that he might eat like McDonalds, or Dairy Queen. Casually, it began to be of no use. He couldn’t hang on with his heart gradually failing and pneumonia that he couldn’t get rid of. Torges was tired, weak, and in pain. She knew it was pointless to even try and bring him something he would turn his nose up to and not even touch. She just didn’t want to regret not trying everything she could do to make him better. Lilith wanted to believe that he was going to get better and be able to come back over to the assisted living where he belonged.
On her day off from work Lilith went to visit him. He always acted like he was fine when she was there, and she knew it was a show because he didn’t want her to worry. The day she went in was different though because he wasn’t fine at all. He was acting just like he did that night when she visited him in the hospital. She left shortly after because she had to leave town to go to a friend’s house. She said told Torges that he would be back later, with no response she reached over and gave him a hug without him moving a muscle. As she left and told Luana goodbye, he laid there limp. When she was walking down the hall towards the door she couldn’t help but notice tears were rolling down her expressionless face. Torges wasn’t getting better, and that he only had a day or two if that left to live.
A while after she was at her friends she got a call from her work. She was tempted not to answer because she thought they were trying to call her in. When she answered the phone they told her that Torges had just passed. Her heart dropped, and she couldn’t think of words to say or for that matter speak any words. They asked her if she was coming to see him because Luana would make the mortician wait to take him away if she was. She said she’d be there as soon as she could. About ten minutes later she was walking into the nursing home towards the hall he was in. From the end of the hall she could see Luana standing outside his door. When she got to the door Luana told her she could go in and see him if she wanted to, so she did.
She calmly opened the door and walked in. He looked so peaceful, and the pained look on his face had vanished. She walked over, gave him a hug, a kiss on the forehead, and said goodbye. Luana told her that before she visited earlier that day they thought that he had fallen into a coma because it wasn’t long after that he became unresponsive and didn’t have any vitals. Before Lilith left Luana gave her a long hug, and told her that he would’ve wanted her to know that she was his favorite worker without a doubt because he told her so all the time.