It had been a long day. Hazel headed up the stairs to prepare herself for bed and check on Charlie. Upon entering the room, she saw Charlie propped up in bed doing the New York Times crossword she had brought him earlier that day. Charlie always did it in pen.
Seeing Hazel, Charlie set down his reading glasses on the nightstand and took a look at his beautiful wife. He had made up his mind, he was going to tell her how he felt.
“Honey, I’ve been thinking about a few things,” Charlie said softly. “What is it?” Hazel sounded worried. “Well, I’ve seen you motoring around here the past few days, trying to take care of everything, stressing about me. Are you doing ok?” Hazel let out a sigh…half relief and half to pause to think about how to calm Charlie’s worries. “It hasn’t been that bad. I don’t mind.” Charlie raised his eyebrows and crooked his mouth into the look he had given her for over sixty years, indicating he wasn’t buying a stitch of what she was saying. “Ok, ok,” she laughed. “Yes, I have been a little overwhelmed with everything. Have you seen the lawn? We have a jungle growing back there!” Charlie laughed, “Well, you always wanted to go to South America. I just saved you thousands of dollars!” They both giggled.
Charlie took a deep breath as he tried very hard to put on his serious face. He knew the next words out his mouth needed to be both gentle and convincing. “Hazel, I have been giving this a lot of thought. We aren’t as young and spry as we’d like to think we are. The house is big, the lawn is bigger. You’ve gone into a bit of panic mode with my whole stroke business. You know, Lloyd and Marilyn seem to be loving their condo, and well…,” Charlie was cut off sharply by his wife. “I am not moving to one of those old folks places Charlie! Lloyd and Marilyn need a place like that because Marilyn’s going senile. No! I’m managing just fine.” Hazel was starting to get flustered. Charlie panicked a bit. This was not how he had seen this conversation going. “Marilyn is just fine. And it’s not an old folks place. It’s a condo. There’s a fitness centre, they have gardens. Heck, Lloyd was telling me that they even have laundry service there! It’s like a hotel!” Hazel threw her hands up, “Right, that’s just what we need! We need to be lazy like Lloyd and have people waiting on us hand and foot. No thank you! I’m not going to one of those miserable places to sit around and play bingo and wait to die!”
Charlie resigned himself. He knew better than to get into the differences between Lloyd and Marilyn’s place and the ideas Hazel had in her head. It was clearly a sensitive topic for her, probably because she had watched her own mother pass away in an auxiliary hospital years ago. But this wasn’t a hospital! Heck, it wasn’t even a nursing home. It was a condo for crying out loud!
Charlie wondered what he could do to get Hazel more information. Should Charlie give Lloyd and Marilyn a call so they could gather some brochures about their place? Should Charlie call the kids and have a conversation with them?