By Martha Weirick
Drip. Drip. Drip.
“Excuse me? Did you say something?” Jason asked.
Realizing she spoke her thoughts out loud, Chloe adjusted her glasses, blushed deeply. She found herself doing that a lot lately, having one-way conversations. As a hospice nurse, words of comfort made an otherwise difficult situation bearable.
“It’s ok. I do it all the time.” He spoke softly, kindly, letting her off the hook. Smiling, he added, “Hi, I’m Jason.”
Chloe swallowed hard, smiled. “Hello.”
“This seems an annual thing for us,” he offered.
So he noticed her too! “It gives me comfort, knowing I’m doing some good.” Blue eyes connected with brown before shyness overtook and she turned away.
He was captivated by her, totally and completely.
Bravely, she sought out the kind eyes again, cheeks burning crimson. It was at that time, however, nurse Bonnie appeared. “Ok, Chloe, you’re all done.”
Quickly, efficiently, Bonnie disconnected and dressed Chloe’s arm. Looking back at Jason, Bonnie forewarned, “I’ll be back for you in a few.”
Placing a guiding arm around Chloe’s shoulder, Bonnie led her patient to a chair not far away, handed her an orange juice and a pack of Lorna Doone’s. “You know the drill. Keep your arm elevated. Once I know you won’t bleed to death or pass out, you’re free to go.”
It wasn’t long before Jason joined Chloe with a seat between them. Popping a cookie in his mouth, “My kid sister loved these things. She always hid a stash of these, but it was pointless. My cookie-seeking skills are legendary. Being the kind brother I was known to be, I usually saved her one . . . usually.” He grinned, unabashed.
Smiling, Chloe’s entire body relaxed. Jason’s grin intensified.
They talked easily, all shyness vanished.
In time, Chloe discovered Jason, a retired Army veteran, had moved back home to help his parents. His dad suffers from chronic back pain, an occupational hazard from forty plus years of driving semis. Jason’s mom, once the feistiest pint-size woman on the planet, suffers from crippling arthritis. His married sister, a mother of rambunctious two-year-old twin boys, lives an hour away. The decision was simple to move home. While serving in the Army, he became an expert in computer technology. Just by word of mouth, Jason, has more work than he can handle.
Jason learned Chloe is the youngest of three girls. Her mother passed away just last year, after suffering from a lengthy illness. At the end of her mom’s life, Hospice provided her family with emotional and spiritual support. Add to it all the recent changes and threatened layoffs at the hospital where she worked, it was an easy decision to alter career paths. One she never regretted making.
Soon, it was time to leave, neither wanting to.
“I hope you don’t mind me asking, but would you like to get a cup of coffee somewhere?”
Her smile told him everything. “There’s a Dunkin Donut’s a few blocks away,” she offered.
Soon, unknowingly, two strangers began their journey toward a lifetime of love and friendship.
The aroma of coffee dripping into a carafe filled the air. Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip.