They were quiet, having their prespread sandwiches. She got up from the table, shambled towards the bathroom, her bowl of soup in her hands. I sat on the bed and watched her manners. She would empty the bowl in the toilet, flush and come back to the table, to finish her early dinner. They sat there, in complete silence. He was looking at me, winking and I could see the corner of his mouth curl up. He continued to take little bites from his sandwich. I asked them what cold cuts they had been given. They had no idea. They forgot, I guess. They were not interested either. He said he preferred making his own sandwiches at a time that was more appropriate to be called dinner time.
A friendly lady walked into the room. She was in a hurry, I could tell. "Are you finished," she asked, while she was clearing the table. Maybe the answer was not important to her, since she didn't await the answer. Dinner was over. Time to take that handkerchief and wipe their mouths. She shuffled back to the bathroom to flush the toilet again. I asked why she got rid of the soup. She said she hated soup. She did like buttermilk porridge though.. I urged her to talk to the head nurse, to see if she could have porridge instead of soup. She gave me that special look, that needed no further explanation. I dropped the subject..
He was still sitting at the table, picking up little crumbs that were left on his placemat. He gathered as many as he could, to pile them up in one corner. She sat down again, waiting for the evening to come. Pretty soon, one of the nurses would come in to help them get into their jammies. It was only 5:00 PM. There wasn't much to say. It was not an unpleasant silence though. They didn't need words to understand one another. They had been together for so many years, they knew what the other was thinking. They looked outside the window, to see nothing but a dull wall and a garbage bin. I kissed them on the cheeks. I rubbed their back and wiped away a tear that had been stinging in the corner of my eye. I left their room, thankful for the love they felt for each other. Thankful, that at least they were together. Things could've been worse. They could have spent their days in a room with a total stranger, in a totally different kind of silence. Their silence was comforting. It was not to be dreaded..
I still miss you.. I miss your wisdom, your strength, your ability to be without speech.