Please promise me that no matter what you'll never let go......
72 year old Annie felt uncharacteristically angry as she remembered how many times she had requested the special cream for her sore legs that morning... When matron had eventually got round to vigorously rubbing her sore leg, she recalled the incident and thought a little too loudly... This damn leg, it’s been aching all day. All I asked for was... could somebody please, please get me some cream for my leg... I made the request a 100 times very politely, of course...
Annie wasn’t happy. She felt upset and very angry, especially in view of the length of time it had taken for someone to get her precious cream.
Sometime later whilst Annie relaxed in the resident’s lounge listening to the gentle hum from the other residents. She realised she really liked being here in the care home, it was a lovely place. Overlooking the sea. This afternoon she could feel the breeze from the beach, it was absolutely delightful. If only her leg hadn’t been hurting her so much she knew she wouldn’t be feeling so out of sorts with the world.
Relaxing further and slowly sinking back-wards, deeper into her faded recliner.
Annie's thoughts went to why she was feeling so peculiar, she still wasn’t sure why but she had felt so very strange all day and now dozing, watching those glorious white horses, coming in from the sea. She remembered warmly how she had always loved it with its dark golden sand, its shiny pebbles and its different coloured cracked shells.
The view from the homes picture windows took Annie back in time, a long time... when she was a young girl; a strange shivery feeling magically engulfed her. Annie began to feel like she had been given a good shot of gas and air, you know the feeling... you get it just as the gas takes over and you completely surrender to it. It felt good. Annie recalled a vivid memory, a memory of a time when she loved to swim in the sea, feeling warm salty bubbles caress her body and how after her swim she would lie on the beach looking up at the sky, squinting but managing to count clouds along with her blessings. She remembered with joy, the divine warm feel of the hot sun as it beat down onto damp skin.
Looking out through the hazy late afternoon heat, she could see someone running to-wards her. To get a better view she shielded her eyes with a cupped hand. She was sure she knew the face it was familiar, she even knew the figures tall silhouette bounding to-wards her, but who was he?
As the familiar figure approached her, she felt like she had been electrocuted. With a jolt she realised.... I remember now, how on earth could I have forgotten, my Darling Joseph... but no, it can’t be... he’s been gone so long, such a long time ago.
Turning to-wards the sun Annie’s thoughts wondered, that sun really does feel good
Reaching her at long last, Joseph a little out of breath but happy to be there said warmly, “Hello Annie my wonderful wife, how I have missed you. How are you?” when Annie heard Josephs deep smooth velvety voice, she felt warm and tingles crept from the tips of her painted toes to the top of her silver head.
She physically hugged herself along with her Goosebumps. She looked deep into Joseph’s blue eyes.
Believing herself to be actually hallucinating, she looked out to-wards her beloved sea, catching her breath she smiled brightly. Annie slowly turned back to-wards him.. he was still there. “Hello Joseph, It’s been so long.... Oh my goodness” Annie breathed in and then out, almost hyperventillating. With one hand she held on to her chest, “why are you here?”
Annie felt confused and dazed but serenely happy.
“Annie, my beautiful, beautiful lady... have you forgotten our secret?” he paused a moment “The secret pact we made all those years ago?” Lost now in her own thoughts, she slowly shook her head. “Joseph my darling, all I remember is that you left me.” smiling sadly he cried “No... No, my lovely lady I didn’t leave you, not willingly anyway... don’t you remember, it was my turn to go”Standing on the soft gritty sand, Annie watched as the frothy sea swished towards her toes.
Holding out her hand towards him as if not really believing he was standing there so tall, so young, so alive and so bold. In response to her need for him he instinctively held out his own hand towards hers, touching her gently.
He pleaded “can you think back to that time and what was said?”
Annie thought hard... her head started to hurt.
As if hit by another electric shock she felt a thud as if she had been thrown to the ground, she slowly opened her eyes just in time to see a very concerned look upon the matron’s face
“Whatever is it Annie? Are you alright dear?”
On seeing the Matron, Annie also witnessed the other residents, some of them straining upright in their recliners... half sitting, half standing, some of them clutching blankets others tightly gripping half read newspapers, but all of them hoping to get a better view of what was happening with Annie in the residents lounge.
Again the matron asked Annie if she was ok, Annie looked up, very slowly but very quietly she whispered to Matron “Yes Matron thank you, I’m alright. Joseph is here we are together at long last. because it was a secret you see, now it’s all going to be ok” before Annie closed her eyes for the last and final time she heard a shrill cry escape from the matrons lips “Please somebody, please call an ambulance.”
On opening her eyes again Annie could see that the sun was as bright as ever, the heat was just as warm and her darling Joseph had waited. His strong muscular arms were folded before him, then lovingly, longingly, he stretched his hand out towards hers whilst Annie reached for him, it was then she saw quite clearly, her skin was no longer sore, tired or wrinkled. She was young again and the beautiful smile from her Josephs handsome face, reassured her that the secret pact had worked, he had kept his promise made so long ago and returned to collect her... because the time was right.
Hands entwined, Annie and Joseph slowly walked up the beach towards the bright pulsating light.
"Joseph my darling, promise me again you will never let go." squeezing her hand tightly he bent forwards, kissing her nose, "I will never let go my darling, never."
A smiling Annie threw a curious look backwards, the screeching wailing siren with its flashing blue lights pulled up outside the residential care home for the elderly......