Third Place winner Worcester litfest contest

Fiction – 295 words

BEING HELPFUL

I like my job. I like meeting the new ones who come here. It’s not hard to figure out how they are feeling, sad or hopeful or scared or resigned to move to this senior residential community. I figure if anybody was in a position to do something about it, it’s me. They need me for so many things and I always deliver. It’s not just about being a handyman setting up their TVs or whatever it is that comes up. I’m near retirement myself and I listen with my heart and I follow up on what I hear. They offer a lot of entertainment events in this place. There are movies and exercise classes and they bring in singers and jazz combos. I see the old ones nodding in time with the music. Some of them are asleep. There’s a lot to do if you’re up for it, but it can drag on and the years get to be too much.

The latest one to arrive was so crushed she may as well have been crying out for me. Her daughter didn’t look so good, either, but she went on in a grim sort of way signing papers in the marketing office while I was fixing the copy machine. I’ve seen this before. Sometimes it takes months or years and I can tell when it’s time. My instincts were right when Mabel said “Thank you” and closed her eyes. And again it felt right when Sarah held my hand with a look of relief pasted on her 100-year-old face. And there was grizzled old John, finishing up his fifteenth year in this place, who said “Go to it man. I’m ready.”

Like I say, I’m more than a handyman. I am really being helpful. ###

 

 

 

 

 

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