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Talula's Vigil

Updated on January 2, 2020
Razel Magick profile image

I worked 25 years in long-term care as a CNA, Activities Coordinator and as a home health aide.

“There's a blue one, a blue one, can you believe that!” Talula gripped the arms of her wheelchair and leaned closer to the big bay window. “Oh, 3 blue ones in a row.” Talula stomped her feet on the foot peddles of her wheelchair in glee. Her shoes made a racket on the meddle peddles.
A woman dressed in bright pink scrubs walked up to Talula. The woman said “Now Talula, I have told you before, you need to keep it down. You are distributing the others.”
Talula turned her head to look at the source of the unwanted, current distraction. Talula said in a loud forceful voice “Oh go soak your head! It is none of your Beeswax what I do!” With saying that, Talula turned back to her observations through the big bay window.
A woman dressed in blue scrubs approached Talula and the woman dressed in bright pink scrubs. The woman dressed in bright pink scrubs said to the woman dressed in blue scrubs “Grace, this old woman is impossible!”
Grace smiled and said to the woman dressed in bright pink scrubs. “I will take care of her, you can go back to your patients.”
The woman dressed in bright pink scrubs said as she turned to leave “Mark my words! The way you spoil that old woman is out of line. This will come to no good.”

Grace just shook her head as she watched the woman dressed in bright pink scrubs leave. Once the woman dressed in bright pink scrubs was away from them, Grace turned her attention to Talula. Grace lovingly placed her hand on Talula's right hand. Grace said “Talula dear, it is time to eat breakfast.”

Talula said “I don't want to eat! I need to watch. I know today is the day I will see it, I feel it in my bones.”

Grace said “I know you need to watch for it, but you need your strength to watch. How can you watch if you pass out from hunger? I tell you what, I will bring your breakfast to you here. Would you eat if I brought it to you?”

Talula said “Oh alright if I have to eat I will. You always get me to do things I just don't have time to do.”

Grace smiled, “I know Talula. Thank you, I will be back in a few.” Grace turned and waked away.

Talula continued her vigil. Talula said out loud to herself “They just don't understand how important what I am doing is.” Talula raised a shaky hand up to smooth her straggly white hair out of her eyes.

In a relatively short time Grace returned to Talula with an over the bed table and a tray with Talula's breakfast on it. Grace quickly set the table, and breakfast in front of Talula. Grace said “There you go Talula, here is your breakfast. Now you can eat and watch out the window.”

Talula picked up the fork and took a bite of the runny scrambled eggs. “This stuff is horrible! Roosevelt said 'We would have a chicken in every pot.' I wish he would have promised we would have eggs worth eating.”

Grace patted Talula on her shoulder and said “I know, it isn't easy for them to make the eggs just right when they have so many people to feed. They do the best they can.”

Talula said “Did you see that one, child! It was a green one!”

Grace smiled “Yes, I saw it. It sure was a nice one. Now, don't forget to eat. I will be back in a while.”

About a half hour went by and the woman in pink scrubs returned. The woman dressed in bright pink scrubs grabbed the handles of Talula's wheelchair and started to move her as she said “Come on Talula it is time to play bingo.”

Talula let out a blood curdling scream, grabbed the wheelchair breaks with both her hands, and locked the wheels of the wheelchair. Talula pitched her upper torso forward and knocked the table with the remnants of her breakfast to the floor. Talula screamed at the top of her lungs “Leave me alone you old cow! I am not playing bingo. I am looking at flivvers.”

Grace hearing the commotion came running up “What is going on here?”

The woman dressed in bright pink scrubs said “I am taking her to play bingo. You know it is easier for us to keep an eye on them when they are all together.”

Grace shook her head and said “It is ok, you can leave Talula here I will keep an eye on her.”

The woman dressed in bright pink scrubs released her grip on the wheelchair. As she was walking away she said “The way you baby that old woman, I am starting to think you are as crazy as she is.”

Grace started cleaning up the mess. She said “I am sorry Talula.”

Talula said “People just don't understand.”

Grace said as she was walking away with the mess on the over the bed table “I know.”

Time passed by with Talula experiencing different degrees of excitement from her observations out the window. A young girl in blue jeans and a t-shirt walked up to Talula and said “Hi Talula, did you feel the earthquake the other day? They called it the Loma Prieta Earthquake. Even though we are far from San Francisco, I felt it.”

Talula said “I don't know. I don't really pay attention to those things these days. I have something for more important to do.”

The young girl persisted “Someone told me that you live in San Francisco when the big one hit that destroyed almost the whole city.”

Talula turned her head and looked at the young lady “Silly girl, that earthquake happened in 1906 and I was born in 1912. So I wasn't there, but I can tell you what it was like. The whole world shook. Now leave me alone.” The young girl walked away and Talula continued her vigil.

Not much time passed before Talula said “Well, well, well, I knew today would be the day.” Talula smiled as she kicked the wheelchair foot peddles out of her way. She held on to the wheelchair arms as she raised herself out of her chair in to the standing position. Talula shakingly walked down the hallway to her room.

Grace came running up to Talula and rapped a supporting arm around her and said “You know you shouldn't walk by yourself. You might fall.”

Talula laughed “I won't fall. This is my final walk. I finally saw what I have been waiting for all these many years.”

Grace said “What is that?”

Talula said “When my husband was dieing 20 years ago, I told him I wanted to go with him. Tom, my husband, told me it wasn't my time. I asked him 'When will I know it is my time?' Tom told me, 'When you see a purple Tin Lizzie.' Well today I saw a purple Tin Lizzie, you know a model T. So I finally get to go to be with my Tom.”

Grace helped Talula to her room. She assisted Talula into her bed. Once settled Grace sat on the edge of her bed and held Talula's hand. After a short time Talula's eyes glassed over and her breathes became shallow. Talula raised her free hand as if she was taking someones hand. The last words she uttered was “There you are Tom, I have been waiting for you.”

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