The Path to Happiness

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
Love. Hope. Lasting romance.
"It's a small world after all" is certainly a true phrase, and it is applied so much within this story of love and all its heartbreaks.
What does an old lonely woman, a hopeful man, a careless girl, an angry boy, and a scheming doctor have in common? They're all on the long and winding Path to Happiness.

Submitted: January 02, 2013

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Submitted: January 02, 2013

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“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”

--George Bernard Shaw

 

*Doris*

I awake in bed yet another morning. The sun shines brightly into my apartment, exposing the flowers on the walls. I slowly slide out of bed, yawning and stretching. I glance at the clock and realize I only had about an hour to get ready before my best friend came for his daily visit.

My best friend’s name is Albert. He comes to my apartment every day and tells me stories of his life. His stories mainly consist of his beautiful wife, who he had lost many years ago. What he meant by “lost,” I did not yet know. I hope he is getting to that point in the story very soon, as I am very intrigued.

I long for an escape to the world outside of my apartment, but Albert tells me it is unsafe. He is such a gentleman that he locks my door each time that he leaves, protecting me from the dangerous world I have never seen.

As I finish tying my beautiful grey hair into a braid, I hear several clicking sounds come from the door. It is Albert, turning the spare key outside to open my door.

I greet Albert with a smile. He says hello, sits down beside me, and begins to tell yet another story…

 

*Andrew*

I feel as if I am sitting beside a stranger in my own car. The long ride to visit my parents was absolutely silent. I still feel the sense of betrayal and distrust between my wife and me. I glanced in the mirror at my 16-month-old baby—correction, the baby is not mine.

I loved this child, Michelle, with all of my heart, but it was still setting in that she did not even belong to me. Nothing has been the same since my wife confessed her adultery to me…

 

*Dr. Paul*

I am stressed out, to say the least. I have had more patients in my department than usual, and the guilt of things I have yet to tell my wife burn inside of me more and more each day. I was to my last patient for the day, but for this patient, there was much prepping to do before I could enter her hospital room. Well, here goes nothing…

 

*Albert*

I walk through the door of Doris’s apartment. She smiles at me, and I greet her with a nice hello. She is one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen, but I could not tell her that. We are simply best friends, not lovers.

“I have another story for you today, Doris,” I say with joy. “Would you like to here it?”

“Yes, I would love to!” she says, giggling.

I begin to tell the next installment of my story. “Okay, where did I leave off? Oh, yes! I have just awoken in my bed, and Johanna is gone. I searched through the house for her, but she was nowhere to be found. I called her name many times, but yet, she did not come to me.”

Doris’s eyes filled with tears. “Where did Johanna go, Albert?” she cried. She began to panic for me. She walked past me quickly and attempted to make a run for the door.

Doris wiggled the door handle, yelling Johanna’s name, but the door would not budge. It was locked from the outside, as it usually is. I ran to Doris, and I began trying to calm her down…

 

*Lillian*

I have a feeling that my husband, Andrew, wanted a divorce immediately. It has been two months since I told him that Michelle was not his child, and he has barely spoken a word to me since.

We slowly pulled into the parking lot next to my father-in-law’s car. We were here to visit Andrew’s parents, and I was in fear of what they’d say of my adulterated mistake.

We stepped out of the vehicle in silence. I grabbed Michelle and we proceeded to take the elevator to the third floor of the building…

 

*Dr. Paul*

I hear screaming coming from my last patient’s room. It sounds as if she is yelling a name; Johanna, perhaps?

I unlock her door and bust in. She looks me in the eyes and says, “You’re not Johanna! What have you done with her?!” Doris proceeded to punch, scratch, and bite me. I pulled a syringe out of my pocket and stabbed it into her vein. She immediately slumped to her bed in a relaxed state. Doris slowly falls asleep…

 

*Albert*

“I’m so sorry, doctor,” says Albert. “I’m just attempting to help her remember.”

Dr. Paul shakes his head. “Albert, it’s come to the point of no return. I’m sorry, but I’m not sure if anything can bring her memory back.”

Tears begin to fall from my aged eyes. “But, doctor… she’s my wife!” I exclaim. “She thinks I am just a friend. Do you have any idea how hard her Alzheimer’s has been on me? I mean, Doris has no idea. She is convinced that she lives in an apartment, that she has never been married, and that I once had a wife named Johanna!”

Dr. Paul looks sad. “It’s hard for me to relate to this, Albert, considering I’ve never had a loved one with such a disorder. But I’m going through my own inner-pain right now, but unlike you, I am afraid to speak of my problems.”

“What has been bothering you, doctor?” I ask. Dr. Paul is about to answer, just as the door opens…

 

*Andrew*

I open the door to my mother’s hospital room. This is only the second time I’ve seen her since she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, so I am nervous of the outcome of the visit. I observe the room; my mother, Doris, is asleep on her bed. My father, Albert, sits beside her with tears in his eyes. And the doctor, who looks extremely familiar, looks at my wife and I in disbelief. What is his problem, I wonder?

“Lillian?” he utters. Lillian’s eyes grow wide, and she almost seems to hide her face. I look back and forth between them, and then I make the connection. I leaped forward and curled my hands around this doctor’s neck…

 

*Lillian*

I could not believe the size of this world has brought this doctor and me into the same room. Dr. Paul… my one-night stand and the father of Michelle. I was still in shock as my husband reached for Dr. Paul’s neck…

 

*Doris*

I awake in my bed, dazed and confused. Who are these people, and why are they fighting in my apartment? The only person I recognize is my best friend, Albert. He is trying to break up the fight between the two other men in the room.

“Everyone stop!” I yell. The room goes silent, and the men retreat to opposite sides of the room. “Albert, what is going on?”

“You don’t understand! You won’t understand!” exclaims Albert. “I’m not who you think I am, Doris. But it’s no use trying to explain!”

It is just now that I catch a glimpse of Albert’s finger; upon his ring finger is a gold wedding ring. I recognize the wedding ring. It is ever-so-familiar.

“Albert, give me your wallet,” I demand. He looks at me for a short while and then proceeds to hand it to me. I open it to see a wedding picture. It is the younger versions of Albert and me.

“You’re my husband, aren’t you?” I ask. Albert nods slowly, a smile growing on his face. Dr. Paul proceeds to explain that I am not in an apartment, but in a nursing home. I have Alzheimer’s. Albert is my husband, Andrew is my son, Lillian is my daughter-in-law, and Michelle is my beautiful granddaughter. I may not remember any of this in the morning, but my family would forever be stored in my heart…

 

*Andrew*

Five years have passed. Both of my parents have passed away; my mother from her Alzheimer’s, my father from a massive heart attack. But the important thing is they are no longer suffering. They are living happily together in a better place.

Lillian and I have re-built our marriage through counseling, and we now have another beautiful daughter, Adrianna. This time, she definitely is my daughter.

Dr. Paul told his wife of his child, and their marriage was not as lucky as mine and Lillian’s. They were divorced immediately. He and I are now acquaintances, at least; we work out a schedule for Michelle to see him on certain weekends. From what I have recently heard, Dr. Paul was engaged and to be married next summer.

So, as you can see, bad things eventually get better. If you are given multiple roads to take, you may choose the wrong one, but I’m sure they all diverge into one single road in the end. This road is called The Road to Happiness, and we may all pass it at least once in our lifetimes.

 

 


© Copyright 2020 Tom Sielaff. All rights reserved.

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