“Man, this lady is old,” says the nurse on the other end of the line after I ask for the patients’ date of birth, her chuckle is young and girlish. Margaret, the patient, recently turned 95. I end our phone call and look over the questionnaire I am to fax over to her doctor.
“Is the patient over 16 years of age?” asks the first question.
I wonder if this woman, Margaret, living somewhere not too far from me, most likely sitting in the shade of a tree, wearing stark white sandals with Velcro to keep them on, sipping a glass of ice lemonade, the edges of the book on her lap lifting slightly with the light breeze, remembers the days of sixteen. I wonder if she ever looks into the mirror and wonders what time has done, her hair bleached white and short, the long hair being the vanity of youth. I wonder if she ever looks out her window at night, the moon full and shining clear pure light into her room and thinks how this moon as seen it all; her life coming together and crumbling apart and now seeing her in the peace of solitude. I wonder if time has erased her memories. Does she still keep secrets, treasured like gems in her hands? Does she still remember the achingly sweet pain of first love, the thrill of a first kiss, the feeling of bliss in doing things her way, working to make it ahead in this world of ebb and flow? Does she carry regrets in her pockets like stones weighing her down? I wonder if the names she’d committed to memory are still in the webs of recollection, buried deep. I wonder how she feels about her time spent, if she has unrealized dreams and the sour taste of disappointment in her mouth. I wonder if when she was my age if she felt as I do: like time is propelling me forward, ready or not and suddenly things are passing me by, it’s happening too fast but there is not time to pause and catch my breath. I wonder how much time she has left, how it will pass. Only time can tell.