In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Once Upon a Time.”
Tell us about something that happened to you in real life last week — but write it in the style of a fairy tale.
Once upon a time not long ago on an early warm morning, retired beach bums gathered along the Gulf of Mexico, for they’re morning walk. I and many other walkers were in groups of two’s, three’s or more and several by themselves, like myself.
Every morning I pass a gentleman standing facing the Gulf of Mexico. He appeared to be between 80 or 90 years of age, projecting the presence of an elegant older statesman. His presence leads me to believe he was prior military, with his arms down along his side like he was at attention. He would often turn towards the sand dunes, appearing to be waiting or looking for someone to appear.
The gentleman wore white walking shoes, white athletic socks pulled up to his knees with matching navy blue gym shorts, blue t-shirt and blue baseball cap. He wore brown square frame glasses that matched his square jaw line, with sullen eyes and a trimmed mustache.
Many walkers walking past him would give the greeting of the day but, the gentleman did not nod his head, speak or reciprocated a response in return.
The sun was rising above the horizon, streaming bright streaks of sunshine in between broken clouds, brightening the beginning of a beautiful day.
I was walking back as I completed my walk and I could see the gentleman still standing erect in the same spot, iIn the bright morning sun.
As I approached, I said hello, and he slowly turned his head, moving his arms from his side to behind his back and I noticed tears in his eyes. I was asked, was he ok.
He mumbled in a fearful trembling voice stating, “She isn’t coming, she isn’t coming, I’ve waited all morning and she is not coming”. His turned towards the sand dunes, as I watched a tear stream down his right cheek.
I asked if he needed any help.Yet, emotionally, I wanted to put my arms around him, but his rigid standing position with his arms locked behind his back, I believe he wasn’t giving up on who he was waiting for.
He mumbled no, and I slowly began to walk away, asking again if he was alright. He did not respond and moved his arms from behind his back to his side.
I was was a few yards away, when I heard him yell aloud towards the sand dunes. I turned to see a young woman waving her arms as she ran toward the older gentleman.
With his arms outstretched and a smile on his face, he walked cautiously towards the young woman and they embraced each other with such joy and happiness. I delighted in viewing the loving embrace I witness
As I turned to continue walking, I noticed the couple walking towards me and pointing in my direction. I could not believe they were trying to capture my attention until the woman yelled for me to stop.
I did and began walking towards them. As we approached, the young woman introduced herself as Bethany and introduced the older gentleman as Retired United States Army General Horace Bartholomew. We exchanged handshakes and pleasantries and I did the same with Bethany.
Bethany thanked me for checking on the retired general. She explained she was late arriving because of car trouble and the retired General doesn’t own a cellular phone and she could not call to let him know of her delay.
We talked for several minutes and I learned, the retired general was hospitalized a year earlier and Bethany was the critical care nurse at the local hospital who held his hands as he was near death. The retired general was being given his last rites before his only son arrived to be by his side. However, he believes it was Bethany’s soft, tender, healing caress, of his hands that allow him to respond and want to live to see his son.
Now, Bethany is his home health care nurse, but, she is soon to become his daughter-in-law. His son recently retired from the military and proposed marriage and Bethany accepted.
The retired general and I walk every morning and he believes Bethany’s loving hospital care, and touch woke him from his sleep.