Aldo lay in his bed, waiting for one of the staff to remember he was still alive. He was thirsty, and he looked longingly at the carafe of water on the nightstand next to the bed. So near, but Aldo’s aged body would no longer let him move to reach for it.
He stared at the light blue carafe until it became the entire world to him. The carafe rose gently from the nightstand and floated into his waiting hands. He wet his shirt in the process, but Aldo poured some of the cool water down his throat. Then he thought about putting the carafe back, and it moved gently through the air to its original spot.
Aldo looked across the room to a photo of his family. He raised it a foot and moved it a little to the left before setting it down. He took another photo off the wall, spun it around a few times, and put it back on its hook.
He shuffled a stack of mail – cards, letters, junk mail – above the little desk. He saw the model airplane a grandchild had put together for him, and he flew it around the room with the barest thought.
Aldo cackled in glee. There was nothing to this. Why had it taken to this end of his life to discover how simple it was?
He landed the plane just before Marletta looked in.
“I’m just getting your meds, Aldo. I’ll be in in a moment.”
And Aldo knew what he wanted to do for his next trick.
Marletta was the most beautiful nurse on his wing of the care home. Indeed, she was one of the most beautiful women he had ever seen. Curvaceous would be one way to describe her, but that would be like calling the sun hot. Moreover, she knew what effect she had on people. That was why her uniform skirt always seemed a little higher than the other nurses’, and that was why the zipper on the front of her uniform was always down a little farther that it should have been.
Today, Aldo determined, he would use his newfound talent to see more than any other patient had ever seen.
Marletta wheeled in a little cart with medicines for all the patients in the wing. She parked it next to Aldo’s bed and bent over a little more than necessary to get his drugs.
Aldo’s mind took hold of the zipper and ever so gently drew it downward. Marletta was focused on the medications and wasn’t thinking about Aldo undressing her with his eyes. Down, down the zipper went, and the view slowly got better and better.
Aldo stifled another gleeful cackle, and his forehead broke out in a profuse sweat. Getting better … almost there. The anticipation built intolerably, and Aldo’s heart gave out under the strain.
“No! Not yet!”
But Aldo’s head flopped to one side, and he was gone.
Marletta called for support. Two other nurses raced in, and all agreed Aldo was dead. His do not resuscitate order was on file, and they let him go without further struggle.
Cary left, but before Dayna did, she looked at Marletta.
“Girl, you need to zip that thing up!”
Marletta looked down and hastily moved the zipper tab. “Oops. That never happened before.”
“With you bent over the med cart, old Aldo must have had a good view. Probably what killed him.”
And the nurses laughed about that.