I don’t make friends easy. I might say hello, and at the most, maybe some useless back and forth conversation. But there won’t be anything telling anyone I want anything more from them. If they start getting too nosy, maybe asking about what I do, what I like, something personal about me the subject will get changed. I don’t like attention being drawn towards me and I’m really not interested in knowing you. Saying goodbye after work isn’t common. Telling you happy birthday will never happen. I really have no interest in other people’s lives.
I took a job six years ago at a retirement home. It was suppose to be temporary until I found something I’m experienced in. After a while it seemed like I was thrown into this building to take care of everything, including the people. It took almost two years before I realized this community was dumped off on me. I’m not a people person. I’m more of a “leave me the fck alone so I can do what I was hired to do” person. I kept waiting until I noticed I was one of them. I made friends and they were interested in me and my well being. We laugh and have fun together except I keep my wall up. They will only know me at work. They’ve stuck up for me, they have my back. There’s nothing more I can ask for after finding that out.
One morning when I came into work I found an envelope on my door. Inside was a card. I didn’t open it right away because I saw it as a personal invasion. It’s like when they give me Christmas cards after I tell them I don’t celebrate that holiday. I check to see if there’s anything of value in it then pitch it. When I finally opened it, several days had passed. This was from Melanie. She was thanking me and that’s all she wanted. I thought this was the greatest thing in the world. No one has ever just said thanks to me for anything. If they did I’m sure I was ignoring them like I always do. Then I found myself doing what ever she wanted done. She didn’t ask for much and I didn’t mind doing things for her. I even found myself sitting in the lobby talking to her. Just me and her until we were invaded by the loud angry heard of bitter lonesome retirees with not much to do.
The card on my door
Inside the card reads:
Mike, Just wanted you to know that I truly appreciate everything you do for us. I thank you so much. Melanie (304)
I’ve kept this card on my desk. If anyone asked I’d let them read it. A few years had gone by and Mel was getting older and was having health issues. This is normal. But not once did I ever hear her say how bad she felt. She seemed tired and lost some weight but she always laughed at the dumb stuff I’d say to her. I noticed she had trouble walking so I kept an eye on her. Elderly people are hard to pick up. They either feel like jell-o with a bone in it or they’re so fragile you’d think they would break at the slightest touch. Last Friday I watched as she left for a doctors appointment. I went home for the week end just minutes after that. Monday when I came in I noticed a lot of trash in the dumpsters and some items in the bulk pick-up area. People dump their shit on our property a lot but this was more than normal. As people were waking up someone broke the news that Mel had a stroke and died that Saturday. Her family was cleaning out her apartment. I showed her daughter the card I always kept. She was heart broken. Mel’s family finished removing the belongings and dropped the keys off in the lock box.
This was for me