Ever and Always
Chapter 4: First Meeting - May 16, 2021

Copyright© 2015 by Banadin

Rick was wheeled up to a table in the lounge.

Peggy locked his wheels in place and said as she left, "You kids behave yourselves." Rick was left facing a wheelchair across from him containing a little old lady.

"No other way to put it, she is little, old and a lady," he thought. Marsha's height may have been five feet four inches at full growth was now a bent 4 foot ten inches at the most. Her face showed the wear and tear of eighty odd years. Not the raddled lines from smoking, just wrinkled lines from a life fully lived.

Her false teeth did not seem to fit her comfortably, like they had not been worn for some time and had been put in for a special occasion. However, through all this there was evidence of the elegant lady from her prime. Bent from age, her posture still had an erectness formed by a lifetime of standing straight and keeping her shoulders level.

Add to this were grey eyes, which viewed him with a level gaze. This person was not careworn or bitter. She had the confident look of someone who was very comfortable with themselve. Even her ragged old house coat hung well on her thin frame.

In turn Marsha saw a man. He was old and wrinkled yes, but a still a man. His body type reminded her of a race-car driver or an astronaut. He was of medium build and medium height, maybe five-foot ten inches in his youth, now less than that.

His body was erect and eyes direct. He didn't wear false teeth, and his gums had shrunken in, but not to an extreme degree. Only if he opened his mouth could you tell he had no teeth. Even through all the lines in his face she still could see the grin of a little boy.

Their first meeting wasn't love at first sight, not even like at first sight. It was two normal people checking each other out like all people do no matter their age. Many would snicker at these octogenarians for doing this. Those that snickered would be fools because there is no age limit to the human possibilities of life and love.

"Hi, I am Rick King, and you must be Marsha Wren. I understand that we are both Alzheimer's oddities."

"That's what they tell me," Marsha replied.

Rick asked, "What is the last you remember before you became aware again?"

"I was in a rest home. I would fade in and out, and I remember being angry all the time."

"Same here but suddenly it is like a fog has lifted," Rick stated.

"Exactly," Marsha replied. She went on to say, "I remember in 2014 being diagnosed with Alzheimer's, and my life seems pretty clear prior to that."

"It's the same here. From everything I can remember about the disease, this is far from normal."

Rick went on to say, "It was explained that I must have had some other condition that was making my dementia appear worse than it was. However, I'm not certain that I have any dementia at all."

Marsha laughed, "You are not crazy, the voices in your head tell you so."

"Right," Rick chuckled, "How would I know?"

Marsha continued, "But seriously, I know what you mean. I feel the same way. I can remember the feelings I had when I was descending into that nightmare. Now they are all gone."

"Time will tell, and it appears that is all we have," Rick replied.

The two continued their conversation inquiring about the other's background.

Rick found out that Marsha was born on May 28, 1936 so that would make her eighty-five years old. She was married when she was eighteen years old and had one child who died in childbirth. She had never conceived again. Her husband of fifty-two years, Max, died in 2006 at age seventy six. She spent a career of thirty years as a secondary school teacher. Max a stockbroker didn't leave her wealthy but well off. She had no idea of her present financial state since the onset of dementia.

In turn Marsha found out that Rick had been a Quality Assurance Manager after a career in the military. Rick was born February 21, 1935, so he was eighty six years old. He had enlisted in the US Army as Infantry in 1953, too late for Korea but had several tours in Viet Nam as a Sergeant. He got out after thirty years in 1983 and went into industry.

He was married twice, the first time in 1956 for five years. He divorced her in 1961 when he found out she was cheating on him when he was overseas. His second marriage lasted from 1971 to 1995 when she died of breast cancer.

While he had gotten over her death, he had never felt the urge to marry again. He had a series of live in girlfriends until his mid-seventies. After his last girlfriend gave him an ultimatum of marriage or leaving, he lost interest in women and lived a bachelor's life.

He had no idea why he was not under the care of the VA or what had happened to his money. Ricks was in the form of his military pension, industrial pension, 401k and a house.

Marsha's was in her pension, mutual funds, a 401k, her house and several other properties. They both agreed that they needed some answers and would help each other.

As they were talking, Emily came up to them and discussed their therapy programs. She explained that her work was being phased out June 30, which was the last day of the State of Maryland's fiscal year. This gave them about six weeks to be able to get up and about unaided.

Emily went on to explain, "We will have you walking with a walker within a week. In six weeks you should be able to take care of yourselves. Then I will leave you with a program to continue with, also my email if you have any questions or need further directions."

Marsha exclaimed, "What is going to happen to you?"

"No worries," Emily explained, "I have already lined up a position with the Northeast Rest Home, and it's a really nice facility. Since it is private care government cut backs should not be as much of a problem."

She went on, "People, who can afford it, will always get the best care. I have heard that if things get really bad, and everything will have to be 'Equal', there will be ships set up off shore for short term care for those that can afford it"

Rick asked, "Has it really got that bad?"

"Almost Rick, the politicians keep kicking the debt problem down the road. We keep trending towards socialist controls, though they are not called that. Since the last series of amnesties, fifty-six percent of the population that should be working is now on some form of subsidy.

"The dollar has to share world currency status with the Chinese Yuan so even more manufacturing jobs have left the country. Furthermore, the wide-spread introduction of industrial robots has cut down on the jobs available." Emily continued, "Sorry to be the bearer of such grim news, but that is the way it is."

Rick became very silent, obviously in deep thought.

"I remember a lot of talk about hyperinflation, how is inflation now," asked Marsha?

"It has not gone hyper, but it has been in the ten percent per annum for the last couple of years," answered Emily. She continued, "There is constant talk of it taking off if there is a 'Black Swan' event, but it has not happened yet."

Marsha asked, "What is a Black Swan event?"

"A Black Swan is an unforeseeable event which becomes a world game changer. Of course, there are so many pundits out there nothing is truly unforeseeable. Someone always gets the credit for their prediction," Emily replied.

"People claimed the tech bubble of the 1990's, or the housing bubbles in the 2000's were Black Swans. The real ones were the Black Plague or the Spanish Flu. I suppose the dinosaurs would call a giant meteorite a Black Swan. All were scientifically unpredictable at the time and could not be stopped."

Emily laughed, "The next event is not a Black Swan, even though you haven't predicted it, and you cannot stop it. It's time for some more physical therapy!"

"Oh Crud," said Rick, "there for a minute, I forgot you were part of the Inquisition."

Using her best evil grin (which was really cuter than evil), Emily wringed her hands together in mad scientist fashion and stated, "We like to surprise our victims. They never know when it is coming."

"Marsha giggled, "I will show you the surprise if you don't get me to a bathroom real soon, or you will be the victim!"

"Oh my I did not realize how long we have been sitting here. Let me get you to a restroom and get Rick some help to the workout area."

"No hurry," grinned Rick.

The workout went as most workouts. Rick complained the whole time in a humorous way as he did everything asked. Marsha did not complain but just did the work.

At the end, Emily stated, "Well you both did very well today. If Rick saved his breath it would have even gone better."

Marsha added, "This was expected. He is a man." Once again, Rick used his long experience with women and kept his mouth shut.

Emily noticed this and said, "Well he seems to have been well trained in when not to speak."

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