“Oh how wrong we were to think immortality meant never dying” Gerard Way
[if you want to skip the intro, the poem starts with a centred heading “Long Goodbye“.]
Death comes for us all: sometimes in an instant and, for some, as an agonised drawn-out process.
The visit to my doctor is routine for a man of my years. No sweat.
I park near the Surgery (doctor’s office), and, fiddling with my phone, watch a car arrive. It’s an elderly couple.
They pull up opposite me. I send my text, then observe, I don’t intrude.
They take time leaving their car, disengaged, in a world of their own. Their inwardness reminds me of people travelling on the Tube in London … they’re in a bubble.
Their gentle progress exudes fragility and, once inside, the perception remains. Wife sits stiff, brave. Husband grabs a magazine. When Wife is called, Husband continues reading. As Wife passes him, he reaches out and they touch hands like a butterfly brushes a windblown flower; a private, fleeting, powerful contact.
My attention wanders and returns to Husband. His gaze is always at the same page – I can tell by the garish advert. When Wife returns they rise, book another appointment and leave with a slow step. I sit moved, thoughtful and feel the stirring of this poem. Here it is …
Circumspect they leave their car
Unsteady feet, attending hands
Heads close as tango dancers
Bright sun shares kisses never felt
In a fog of mutual support
Their unrushed steps well-timed
One hand grips rail, her other held
Slow steps rise to fateful door
Shoulders meet to balance
I follow in the wake of pain
And sit nearby aware, empathic
No talk fills their waiting
There he sits with magazine
Eyes stare focused on his lap
Reading not an inky word
The doctor comes and calls a name
She stands slow, when erect moves off
His strong help barely glimps’d
But I saw subtle hands connect
A low five of support, such depth
Years of love in a single touch
For just a mo’ our eyes connect
Tendrils of fear escape control
And withdraw, fast as pounding heart
How many years their love withstood
Cruel slings and arrows, rocks and stones
Now entr’ng life’s departure lounge
A brittle smile, a nod … alone
A caring head drops to stare at … nothing
He waits her soft return
She’s back, a new appointment made
Ginger steps move away, in hope
Or resignation, I cannot say
© Mac Logan