“Happy Birthday Jane !!!”
The small crowd whooped in unison.
Her eyes filled with tears as she found herself embraced and her hands shaken warmly. It had been only a year since she had come to live here at the ‘Assisted Living Facility’. But unbeknownst to her, it had soon become her home and the residents, a part of her family.
Old Mr Dawson stood watching her from a distance. A sixty-year-old woman who looked every bit her age but had eyes that were as bright and innocent as that of a child! He strode in her direction.
Pling! Plong! Pling!
The piano started playing while Jane seated herself. She was lost in the music when she heard the discordant thumping of boots drawing near.
“What?..Oh, it’s you, Mr. Dawson!” She turned towards him.
He gazed intently at her lips moving animatedly and reached inside his pocket for the small velvet box.
Jane started as something landed on her lap. She opened it carefully and gasped with pleasure as her fingers ran through the soft edges of a bracelet.
“Thank you. It’s … beautiful!” She jangled them playfully.
Mr Dawson looked away. He had spend the last of his meagre savings to get her this gift. And why wouldn’t he? After all, it was Jane who had inspired him to find a purpose in his life after his son had decided to leave him here!
The doorbell rang. A whiff of the familiar scent and she knew who it was.
“Happy Birthday Mom!” Amy hugged her cheerfully and Jane beamed with happiness.
The sound of the bracelet caught her attention and she turned to look at the diamond stones sparkling on her mother’s wrist
“Wow! Who gave you this?”
“Mr. Dawson.” Jane answered shyly.
Amy looked him over and then lashed out at her mother.
” So whatever I have been hearing about you is true. Mom, how can you be so irresponsible? Having a fling at this age! And that too with this ragged oldie?! What will people say?”
The sound of a slap rechocheted through the hall. Jane was trembling with anger.
“Amy!! Didn’t you think about that when you dumped me here? For the first time I am glad that I am blind because had I been able to see, I wouldn’t be able to meet my friend’s eye. Moreover, I am thankful that Mr Dawson here is deaf because it would have hurt him to hear you speak such rubbish. Get out and don’t ever come back!”
Amy bolted out, her heels clacking against the hardwood floor. The door closed with a bang!
Jane walked over to the window listening to the rain splattering outside. A hand squeezed her shoulders. Mr Dawson turned her around and whoosh, a cool breeze wiped away her tears.
He guided her towards the table.
“Let’s cut the cake.”
Jane smiled. She could feel a friendship blooming in the gentle touch of his fingers.
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