She found the old woman in her room, resting atop her bed, or so it seemed at least. Walking in after knocking on the jamb she saw that the lady had held onto the picture that she’d found earlier and was resting with her head slightly leaning to the left, almost as though she was leaning towards someone as she was situated further to the left side of her bed.
Maggie couldn’t help but smile as she took the picture she’d been holding, the wise smile and sparkling eyes of Joseph McGregor seeming to hold some sort of truth that she couldn’t decipher, but desperately wanted to know. She could easily believe the old woman when she’d said that this man had been someone special, a soul unlike any other that shone brightly in a way that few others did. Without knowing why she did so Maggie placed the picture on the other side of the woman, so that when she woke she would be able to see his face.
It was then that she noticed that the old woman wasn’t breathing, and for one moment her heart stopped as she heard nothing, not even a thin rattle of air as it went in and came back out. Reaching out tenderly she felt for a pulse within the woman’s wrist, hoping that she was simply resting. But only a few seconds later it was confirmed, the woman was gone.
Her heart clenched, no matter that she hadn’t known this woman all that long. She seemed so peaceful in her sleep, so serene, almost as though she’d drifted off on a dream, or a pleasing memory. Standing to her feet, Maggie went to find the site manager, as the only presiding nurse was currently busy with another resident, an old man that was rather nasty to those around him for no good reason.
Only a short time later the old woman had been rolled out after being pronounced deceased. The manager had told Maggie that the old woman had no relatives to come and claim her belongings, but that she would need to tidy things up a bit if she could. While she didn’t really want to be in the room any longer than she had to, Maggie couldn’t help but pick up the picture that the paramedics had allowed to drop on the bed, the picture of the formal that the old woman had wanted so badly. When she dared to look at it however she gasped, sure that she was seeing things but still finding it somehow eerie.
Where once the picture had shown two young people in their prime looking at the camera, now it showed the same people, but with the young woman looking up at a smiling Joseph, the look in their eyes that of pure adoration. Maggie had no words, nor did she have any explanation save that the photo was the same that the woman had been holding, the same that she’d retrieved for her earlier.
Despite the uncertain feeling that pervaded she couldn’t help but smile.