A Special Friend - Mary This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   I remember the first time I walked into that room and saw all childlike innocent faces staring trustingly into my eyes. I remember the first time I realized I was the only world some of these people had left. My good friend this past summer worked at a nursing home and I used to help him entertain the older men and women who so desperately needed a friend.

I came once or twice a week and played the piano for them. I played requests, but had to disappoint many of my listeners, for I rarely knew the obscure pieces. Many (as I got up to leave) would grab my hand and whisper in a harsh, but soft voice a word of thanks. One woman in particular faithfully attended all my performances. A slight woman, with wispy hair, and a small wrinkled face. Her name was Mary.

Mary was the sort of lady who would tell people crazy, sad stories of long ago. She was the sort of lady who you could picture making cookies in an old-fashioned kitchen. She was the sort of woman who fit the picture of a grandmother you'd find in a fairy-tale. Sadly, Mary had Alzheimer's, a disease that makes you forget others from day to day.

So Mary and I had a sad mixed-up friendship. Every time I'd come, she would extend her hand and introduce herself. It was a confused world she lived in and even though she never remembered who I was, I tried to make her happy when I visited.

I started coming to the nursing home more often. Twice maybe three times a week I'd go after school and make pictures and paintings with her. I grew to love that old woman like a grandmother. It hurt me that every time I came she never remembered who I was, but then I never knew or understood the extent of her illness.

The last time I came to visit her was like all the other times, except for one thing. As I was getting up to leave, she looked at me and said with a solemn, empty voice that haunts me to this day, "Please, please I want to go home. Help me go home." Then she broke down in tears.

I stayed with her for a long time that night, reading her stories, and playing games. When I left, she smiled at me and said goodbye, and then she said my name. I will never forget Mary.

I went away the following week. When I returned, I found Mary had passed away the night I left. For weeks after, she was all I thought about. I missed the old lady who never remembered but had a heart of gold. I felt I shouldn't have left her. But then I remember one of the last things she said to me. She finally was happy, because she went where she always wanted to go - Home. fl


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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