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The old lady places her shawl on the top of the bed table and opens the door below.
She removes two brightly colored doilies that she painfully knitted over the course of two weeks. She holds them with long fingers gnarled and slowed with age.
She made them for the redheaded girl who comes to clean her room. She has come to anticipate the sounds of her cleaning cart coming down the hall as she stops at every room and does her duty. She is very friendly and the old lady loves to hear her talk of her little girl and her life as she bustles around the room making the bed and cleaning the floor. They have a special relationship these two and the old lady loves to talk of times past and things done.
She loves the way her stories fall on rapt ears and the way she feels when the girl sits down just to listen to her and her tales of past days. The ghosts of memory come with these visits also and they leave their little stamps of love and longing but she would never change a thing.
These daily meetings with this girl have given her a way to bring lost friends and family to life with the stories she tells her. She can tell of loves lost and lives changed. They exchange secrets and tips and when something happens she can’t wait to tell her special friend.
So for all this she gives her the only thing she can to show her how much all this means. She’s lovingly made every stitch as her mind paints memories of past times and peoples.
“I hope you like them...” she says uncertainly as she hands the doilies over with shaking hands.
The girl is choked up as she says, “of course I do silly.”
Tears well up in her eyes as she can see the obvious effort it must have taken the old girl to make these beautiful colored pieces with her terrible arthritis.
To herself she thinks that this is what makes her job so worthwhile to her. These beautiful people have learned life’s lessons and now carry their souls with a calm quiet dignity that she could only wait for time to teach her.
The bonds she makes with all these wonderful people are however much too short and her heart breaks as old friends move on and new friends enter. Still she cleans and moves on to the next room, the web of her love and caring gives tribute to friends lost but certainly not forgotten.
She’ll move on to the next room with tears in her eyes and the doilies in her purse. It’s not over, the shifts just begun and there are still twenty-two rooms to clean.
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