"Good Morning Mr. Roger!"
Roger slowly opened his eyes and saw a young woman standing in front of him. She was wearing scrubs and her hair was pulled back in a ponytail. Her smile was way too big for such an early morning.
"Where am I?" Roger asked.
"Cherry Nursing Home. I'm Cathy, your aide, and it's time to get you up for your shower". Cathy explained.
"I'd rather sleep, and I don't know you" Roger mumbled.
"Oh yes you do. You just don't remember. I've been your aide for two years, Mr Roger". Cathy said, smiling.
"Lucky me" Roger shot back, sarcastically.
After his shower, Roger wheeled himself down the hallway, ignoring the med carts and aides that were running around attending to other residents. He was having one of his lonely days, and desperately looking for someone to talk to. He couldn't understand why his wife never came to visit him. Maybe she didn't love him anymore. Roger shook his head and kept pushing down the hallway until he turned into one of the sitting rooms.
The sun was shining ever so slightly onto the baby grand piano in the corner of the room. Roger made his way over to the piano and sat in front of it, unsure of what to do exactly. He lightly tapped the keys and felt a rush of excitement flow through his veins. He moved the piano bench out of the way and pulled himself up to the piano and began to play. He lost himself in the moment, intrigued by the beautiful music.
Roger was interrupted by an older woman with beautiful eyes gently putting her hand on his shoulder.
"You're quite good", she said gently.
"I didn't even know I could play", he replied, looking sheepish.
"My husband plays too. That's how I met him. He was playing at a jazz club and I fell in love with him. My name is Alice, by the way".
"That's nice" Roger responded.
Alice stared into Roger's eyes for a while, and then lifted up her sleeve to show off her wrist.
"Look....we were so crazy in love that I got a tattoo of a piano on my wrist. He has one that matches". She said, smiling.
"That's nice", Roger responded again, and began to turn away. "I think I have an appointment" he said, making an excuse to escape.
Roger wheeled himself back to his room. For some reason he felt a sadness that he could not explain. He shook it off. "Must be all the damn medication they are giving me" he grumbled to himself.
The next time Roger woke up, there was a young woman sitting across from him in a chair. "Where am I?" he asked.
"Cherry Nursing Home in Naples. I'm Laila. I came in here to chat with you, but you were asleep. I figured I'd just wait here until you woke up". Laila explained.
"What do you want?" He asked, getting annoyed.
"Just to visit with you" she responded sweetly.
Roger sighed and looked away. "I don't know why. I have nothing interesting to say".
Laila disagreed, pushing, "Well how about you start by telling me about that tattoo?"
Roger looked down where Laila was pointing. There, on his wrist, was a small tattoo of a piano.
"That's a really cool tattoo", she said. "I've never seen anything like it".
"Yeah. I guess it is unique". Roger replied, confused.
Laila could sense that Roger was confused. "You look like you've never seen it before".
"I...don't think I have". Roger responded.
"Maybe your wife knows", Laila suggested.
"My wife never comes to see me. She doesn't love me anymore".
"She was here earlier, Roger. She wanted me to give this to you". Laila said, handing over a piece of paper.
You're having a bad day today. You didn't know who I was. But that's okay. I will never stop loving you. I'll come back tomorrow. I'm going to visit our grandchildren. I will tell them you said hello. Their names are Lizzy and Zach. They are beautiful. And they both play piano, just like their grandpa.
Roger let a tear fall down his cheek. He couldn't believe he didn't even remember his wife. What was happening to him?
Trembling, Roger flipped the paper over, wanting to write to his beloved wife.
If I'm asleep when you come, wake me up.
If I can't remember who you are, remind me.
If I am cranky, tell me to snap out of it.
If I am by the piano, tell me to play our song.
If I doubt your love for me, hold my hand.
If you doubt my love for you, then you might as well take my heart out of my chest. Because my love for you is the only thing I am sure of. I love you. I forget many things. Where I am, if you visited, what I ate for breakfast. But I can never forget how much I love you. It is as if your soul has been etched to my skin, just like our matching tattoos.
By the time he was finished writing, Roger was crying. He looked up at Laila and said "Next time she comes, make sure she gets this."
With that, Roger closed his eyes and fell asleep, hoping that the next time he woke up he would remember more about his life.