They're Playing Our Song

September 1, 2011
By Evan O&#39Connor BRONZE, Natick, Massachusetts
Evan O&#39Connor BRONZE, Natick, Massachusetts
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

A weak knock on the door brings an apology. If only I knew what for.
A young man enters the room. A familiar face, but whose?
He greets me by name and proceeds to sit down.
Who put that chair there? Encased by blue striped walls.
I feel as though I have just woken up– cannot remember exactly where I am.
I play the silence, and try to think, but nothing comes to me.
I wait and hope his voice will give me something to work with.
“Hello Dad,” the young, faltering voice calls to me. Still unfamiliar.
Almost as though I have forgotten the words. This was my song.
I let the beat carry me. I don’t speak for fear that my ignorance will do me harm.
More silence, cross-eyed glares, but somehow I am comfortable.
He walks towards me, but I do not fear him. The room beings to move.
I notice wheels below me, but somehow I feel safe.
The blue-striped walls disappear– a pardon from the warden.
Sunshine hits my face. And my son sits down in front of me. “How was your day?”
It is not all clear– but, let the song play on.

I stand in front of the door for the longest minute of my life.
This song replays every day. I know it too well. So well it numbs me– so, I let the beat carry me.
I have watched the beat slow every day. Not calm. But a cruel, unforgiving slow.
I should have drank another cup of coffee. My knock is weak– will he hear me?
Our eyes meet. The same blank stare he gives me every day.
“Hello dad,” I shatter the silence– not disappointed, just numb.
Silence no longer exists. I count the clock ticks, the footsteps, the bird chirps. Right on cue.
I walk over to him and pray for the arrival of my father.
We walk outside and I anticipate the same timid stare.
This time when I ask, “How was your day?”, his face illuminates.
A light I haven’t seen in years. Why today? What does he know?
It is not all clear– but, let the song play on.

The author's comments:
This piece is meant to show two points of view– one from an elderly man with Alzheimer's and one from the man's son, coming to visit him. I work with Alzheimer's patients and families and wanted to bring others into what I see so often.

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