Day 4 - Back for Love
Diego looked at the postcard in disbelief. “I’m not dead. Meet me Tuesday night at 8 at restaurant Del Vaca.” There is no way this could be true Miss Martha died three weeks ago aged 103, he knows he attended to her body as the orderly on duty the night she died.
Whoever had sent this was playing a cruel joke. If it was a joke though, it was well thought out, how did they know he had snuck Martha out to restaurant Del Vaca to celebrate her 100th birthday. he did miss her, painfully missed her, although he was only 21 and her 96 when they first met, there was an odd connection between the two of them.
Ever since he was a child he somehow knew he would be working with the elderly, he always found them fascinating, so full of stories and experiences that his counterparts didn’t have. Sure he had friends the same age as him, he’d even had a couple of girlfriends over the years, yet still he found an affinity with the people he cared for at the nursing home, in particular Miss Martha.
He looked at the card again, pondering it for a moment and tucked it into the shirt pocket of his scrubs, he had to get to work, things to do. Although he was ‘only’ an orderly, as he was reminded daily, he felt it was one of the most important jobs in the centre. He felt, out of everyone, the doctors, the nurses, activity co-ordinators it was him who had the most time to spend with the patients, even if it was simply talking to them as he mopped the floor, fixed the TV, or simply filled the room with a lively presence as they dozed in the chairs in the recreation room.
This day turned out to be different though, all day he was distracted, some of the more discerning residence noticed and asked, what’s up Diego, and he simply batted them away with an ‘oh nothing’ or ‘just thinking about things’. Multiple time during the day he found himself stopping when he had a quiet private moment and re-reading the postcard, still it did not seem believable, there is no way a 103-year-old woman who he tended to on the day she died could be writing postcards let alone meeting at restaurants.
By the end of the day, it had gotten the better of him. On his way home having read the card so many times it was now dog-eared from going in and out of his pocket he resolved he would go. He would go and see who was playing this cruel, cruel joke on him. If it was true he would get answers. That was ridiculous though, there was no way this could be true.
The following day at work was even more disruptive, everything seemed to remind him of Miss Martha. Old Mister Jones celebrated his 100th. Martha’s favourite quiz show was on repeats, the show that he used to compete with her on. He even had to go to Matha’s old room to clean it out and get it ready for a new resident, it was customary that they would wait 4 weeks before filling it so as to not upset the residence. The day just could not go fast enough for him.
By the time 6 pm rocked around, knock off time he was itching to go. Unsure if he had ever made the walk home in such a quick time, he burst through his apartment door sweaty from the effort of trying to get home and get ready for the meeting. Quickly showering, he dressed as nice as he could, Del Vaca was a ritzy restaurant after all.
After he had preened himself in front of the mirror just one more time, not knowing why he was doing this as if it was Miss Martha, she really did not care how he looked, she was an old lady. Grabbing his keys he walked out of his apartment down onto the street and started making his way to the restaurant. Again walking, not running this time, there was no rush and he wanted to be cool and composed when he arrived.
At the restaurant he approached the Maitre d’, ‘Can I help you Sir?’
‘Yes, can you tell me if there is a booking for two under Martha Merryweather’
‘No Sir, unfortunately not, you must have the wrong restaurant, are you sure it is Del Vaca you want?’
‘Yes, how about Diego Garcia’
‘Why yes Sir, Garcia for 8 pm. Do come this way the best seats in the house have been reserved for you this evening’
Diego followed, it had been over three years since he had snuck Martha out for her birthday. He had done it, partly out of pity as no one had visited her on this most significant of Birthdays. He could never understand why she never had any visitors, she seemed such a lovely woman, he knew she’d been married at one time, but obviously being 103 she probably outlived her husbands, even her children if she had any, but then there were no great or great-great-grandchildren.
the Maitre d’ pulled a chair out from the table for Diego to sit, good he though, he could scan the whole restaurant including the entrance way if Miss Martha was alive and coming to dinner he would obviously see her well before she crossed the room, else, maybe just maybe he will be able to discern from the people around him who was playing this cruel joke.
As he was early, he sat and sipped on the chilled water, knowing it would be rude to order a drink before his dinner partner arrived. He watched a medley of couples approach the Maitre d’ speak and be taken to their table. He looked at his watch, it was 8 pm, if it really was Miss Martha he knew she would be here on the dot of 8 pm.
He looked up from his watch, and standing at his table was a young elegant woman, auburn hair cascading over her shoulders, wearing a black dress and an elegant pearl necklace. ‘Sorry, can I help you?’
‘Why yes Diego you could stand like a gentleman a pull my chair out for me’
Diego stood, confused, the woman in front of him was around about 30, the same age as him, yet she sounded like and spoke like Miss Martha. he waited, she sat and he returned to his chair.
‘Who are you?’
‘Why Diego, where are your manners, you ever were such a polite boy’
‘No seriously lady, who are you, is this some wicked joke?’
‘No Diego, I am not joking, I am Miss Martha, or I was until three weeks ago. Now, well I don’t know yet, I haven’t chosen my latest persona’
‘I don’t understand. How?’ Diego was at an absolute loss, how could this woman be Miss Martha, she was both young and beautiful beyond belief.
‘I’m an immortal darling, every now and then we have to regenerate. I was starting to get sick of it, putting it off all the time. Then I met you, beautiful you and I fell in love, you gave me a reason to regenerate, I know you grew to love me too. Now we can be together.
‘But I don’t know you?’
‘Yes you do darling, you just don’t know me as your same age, I know you loved me and will love me again’