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“Cheater. Cold-blooded cheater.
“I gave her everything. My youth, my money, my life. Everything!”
“Yes, Mr. Conte,” the young nurse said as she wheeled the old man into the dining area to join the others. “How about a nice warm bowl of oatmeal?”
Every resident and staff member at Senior Peak knew of Jack Conte’s past. Well, at least the darkest part, for he would ramble on about it whenever the fog would set in, the haze creeping into his old mind like a tranquilizer to the present and a wide open door to the past, to relive over and over what had affected him the most in life.
Some days the oatmeal would help bring him back, the scent providing little sprinkles of his childhood, at which times he would savor every mushy bite. But oddly enough it was on the random days his wife Linda would stop by to visit him when ol’ Jack would be at his worst, before she’d even arrive, as if his soul somehow knew she was on her way.
“There were messages. I found messages…
“They said, ‘I miss your bjs.’
“Filthy! My girl. She was supposed to only be my girl.
I taught her how to give a great blow job, and she goes out and tries to impress some piece of trash with it?! Disgusting! Comes back and kisses me with that mouth! Eats my food with that mouth! Cheater! Cold-blooded cheater!”
Ironic that these haunting memories didn’t arise during most of Linda’s actual visits, Jack usually zoned out while amidst her presence, staring off as she’d go on about her daily life. Visits from the kids, how the grand kids were growing, how prices of staple items were increasing. But then the oddest thing would serve as the trigger for the fog to roll in. A sentence, a word. Something that would act as a magnet to their fragmented past, the ghost of what she had done to him decades ago, becoming clear in his mind as if it happened yesterday. The hurt of her betrayal, sending him into a whole new round of fits as he could do nothing but give voice to her infidelity.
“My money. She used my money to meet him, to dirty that mouth. To put him inside of her…
Like a parrot playing back the past, like a recording never running out of batteries, Jack would begin to lose it, yelling, shaking, until the caretakers would ask Linda to leave, all staring at her as the source to the old man’s anguish, her head lowered as she’d head for the old folks home front door, to escape the wailing reminders from her husband, the judgemental eyes from the residents.
Why had she not been strong enough back when youth was still on her side? Back when her skin was flawless, breasts high, sex wet only for one man, the one who didn’t only want to use it for momentary pleasure but so much more. For a lifetime of loyal companionship. Too young, too stupid to fully realize the history in stone she was making. A history cemented in an innocent’s heart, his now decaying brain like a needle to a record player, only fitting in the grooves of her sinful wrinkles, to play over and over again to whomever was around to listen.
The tormenting song of her adulterous ways would indeed be Jack’s last words.
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