Children Fiction posted August 31, 2010

This work has reached the exceptional level
an old man learns tolerance?

Bless The Children

by Realist101

Cane in hand, Paul Jenkins hobbled slowly from his room to the dining area, to see what awful concoctions they would throw at him today. Food at this place was more like hospital food for the most part and the three months of residing at West Haven Home was beginning to drain his appetite and his patience.

It really was intolerable, this place, with its hard seated sofas, its chrome trim everywhere. And the nurses. All of them were astoundingly incompetant. He stood in the door, observing the other residents and wishing he could just go home.

Behind him a soft voice broke his train of thought and he was forced to move from the doorway by a small, blue-haired lady with such thick glasses that she looked just like an owl.

He watched the woman walk carefully to the line of diners, her blue hair gleaming beneath the sterile white lights. Her hair wasn't ugly, just odd. He much preferred the auburn shades. But at his age, these things just didn't matter anymore.

He grumbled under his breath and went to the end of the line, joining in the quest for the evenings meal.

The chatter in the room reminded him of a school cafeteria, complete with giggling and teasing.

"Hmpfff ... ." His blood began to boil. Dinnertime was meant to be spent in front of a television, or quietly at least.

He chose what food he could that appeared edible and had to hook his walnut cane over his arm to carry his tray over to the farthest table he could find. He wished fervently that he were anywhere but here. Even if it meant he had to be in his cold, dark grave.

But the meal wasn't half bad this time. He thought of letting the cooks know his thoughts about it, but didn't want to speak to them. He did not enjoy young people. And most of the ones who worked here were well under the age of thirty. Except for the nurses. Some of them at least, were over fifty. The one consolation; the one thing here, that was a blessing, was that there were no children.

Mr. Jenkins wiped his mouth with the soft napkin and observed his fellow "inmates". Most were dressed in mere house-dresses, or on the other end of the spectrum, in pearls and church clothes. The other men were dressed much like he was, just casual slacks.

He rose from the hard seat, satisfied for now, with a full stomach and anxious to return to the privacy of his small apartment. Hopefully there would be something interesting on the television. But he doubted this as well. Nothing much was as it should be here.

Suddenly, squeals of delight rang out, filling the dining room with even more obnoxious chatter. Coming into the room were, oh my GOD, CHILDREN!

Mr. Jenkins almost dropped his tray. He was trapped. He could not get through the door, there were so many of them.

He stood, transfixed with anxiety and apprehension. His heart began to flutter, a small bird trying to escape a cat. Sweat poured from his brow, he couldn't breathe and he toppled over in full cardiac arrest.

Immediately, nurses and two doctors appeared. CPR was performed and Paul Jenkins II was toted from view, as several of the young children began to cry and they in turn, were taken from the dining room, their mother's and grandparent's all like hens, clucking and consoling.

One small girl, around the age of six, slipped away from her grandmother. She had come to visit the lady with the blue hair, along with friends of hers. It was her sixth birthday and she had asked to spend part of her special day with her grandparents. Her mother was helping herd everyone out of the room, but little Sopie hid and quietly followed the gurney that carried Mr. Jenkins back to the hospital area.

She had seen the old man's face just before he collapsed. And she had seen sheer terror. The little girl stood in the shadows, watching and praying for the man to live.

And he did. The team revived his eighty-five year old heart and the monitor began to slowly make faster and faster blips up and down; soon, the man was stabilized and once more breathing on his own.

After the excitement and strain had ebbed and all the people were out of the emergency room where he laid, the little girl stepped forward to ask him how he was. She spoke in a whisper, so as not to frighten him and her blonde hair gleamed in the light, giving her the appearance of an angel.

And that is what Mr. Jenkins thought he was seeing. His breath gurgled as he tried to speak and he could do nothing but look at the sight before his tired eyes.

"Are you okay?" The small girl genuinely cared. Her small hands clutched the rails of the hospital bed, her big brown eyes wide with worry.

Mr. Jenkins couldn't speak. But he knew he had either died, or come close and he had been alone. And except for this child, this tiny girl child, he would be still.

He reached out his gnarled hand and as she held it in both of hers, a solitary tear slid down his wrinkled cheek.

Grr...That Little Brat.... writing prompt entry
Writing Prompt
Write a short story about a man who doesn't like children.


I guess an older child could read and understand this tale of compassion. Thank you for reading and to Photogooroo for the loan of this lovely photo!! :)
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