Episode Eleven: Bruno and Alice: A Love Story in Twelve Parts About Seniors and Safety – On bended knees

Pictures may be the best remembrance someone has of a wonderful period in one's life. Where those same pictures hang, however, can be the cause of irritation.

When I started spending more time over at Bruno's, he had pictures of his first wife all over his house. I'm certain she was a wonderful woman, but things between Bruno and me were getting pretty romantic, and I couldn't turn around without seeing his wife watching me from a wall somewhere. It felt weird. I confronted him about it and he agreed to store the pictures away. Or so I thought.

Two days later, I caught sight of him through the window of his backyard art studio. He was working away furiously, hammering picture hooks into the walls. It was an awkward moment. Privacy is privacy, but I wondered whether my new gentleman friend was creating some sort of shrine to his former spouse.

Two days later (the day before my 81st birthday), I came over and found that Bruno wasn't there. Yet the door to his workshop was wide open, banging in the wind. I headed across the yard and up the three steps to the studio to shut it for him. After all, he keeps valuable tools in there. Then, just as I was about to swing the door closed, I heard Bruno's voice in the house calling my name.

Perfectly innocent but feeling guilty, I closed the door quickly, spun on my heel and dashed down the stairs. At my age, I have learned how to manage stairs safely—hand on the rail, moving sideways one stair at a time—but there was no time for such caution now. I went into a headlong rush and, nothing to steady me, I plunged knees-first into the grass, which is precisely how Bruno found me.

Rushing up to me, he wrapped his arms around me as I sat there shaking and asked if I was all right. I said "Everything is okay. Everything is fine." And indeed it was for, in my brief glimpse through the open studio door, I had seen exactly what Bruno was up to—a clay sculpture, a perfect image of an older couple reading on a bench.

I had uncovered his secret—a beautiful birthday present for me. The only problem now was how to act surprised on my birthday!


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