Disclaimer: The story is inspired by real people and true stories around me over the years but the characters and plot are all mine.
Twirling her lanyard in her fingers, she was having a hard time focusing on all the orders at the nursing station. It’s a relatively quiet evening. Thanks to the snowstorm, all the scheduled new admissions were canceled for the weekend.
This being a unit for some of the sickest people, it always surprised her to find a sea of visitors around Valentine’s Day. Most people under her care had outlived their spouses and lovers. As for adult children and grandchildren, well, since when had visiting a dying family member become an ideal dating activity?
The comforting reality was that most people here couldn’t tell night from day. Valentine’s Day wasn’t going to mean anything when one’s all doped up. The only exception was the latest and youngest addition to their unit. He’s been telling her every evening what he’s planned for his wife this Valentine’s Day. He’s convinced that his wife would finally come home.
Twenty years. That’s how long he’s been waiting for her to be part of his life again. Twenty years. That’s how long his wife’s been waiting for him to change. Two more days. That’s what the doctors predicted. Even if everyone was willing to give him 70 times seven chances, his body had decided to give up.
She felt sick to her stomach when she returned from her smoke break. Perhaps there really was something called “too late.”