Roland and Lady – Mark Tulin

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Roland was not the most attractive of men, could hardly speak, muscles that jerked with a spasm and twitch. But what he had was a healthy imagination and a passion for women.

His nurse carefully rotated the Hoyer lift and raised him over the bed. Roland smiled. Going to bed was comforting. It was finally his chance to relax and to have some much-needed privacy.

All day one or another staff member carted him around, fed him meals, changed his catheter bag, and spoke to him like a child.

The nurse wiped Roland’s chest and legs with a warm cloth. She emptied his catheter bag and then reconnected a new one. She powdered his body and applied an ointment to all of his sores.

“Feeling better, Roland?”

He grunted and closed his eyes like he was dozing. The nurse slipped on his pajamas and wiped the drool from Roland’s cheek.

“Is there anything else before I turn out the lights?”

Roland grunted and raised his gnarled fingers pointing to the closet.

“Oh, Roland. I thought you were sleepy?”

The nurse giggled briefly, went to the closet, and took out an inflatable doll that Roland named Lady. The nurse placed Lady next to Roland, making sure that his arm was comfortably holding the naked doll. The nurse wedged a pillow against his back and two under his head.

“How is that?” the nurse asked.

Roland winked and gave a gnarled thumbs up.

The nurse covered the two with a quilt and turned out the lights. She stood by the partially closed door and watched for a few seconds to make sure that Roland was alright.

Roland lay in bed, feeling loved and satisfied for the first time that day. He always smiled at night when the lights were out and when everything was quiet. The more that Roland had looked out the blinds, the more he could see the full moon hanging in the sky and forget about his disability. Holding Lady so close, he felt like a different person and was confident that he could make it through another day.

About the contributor: Mark Tulin is a former family therapist who lives in Santa Barbara, California. He has a poetry chapbook, Magical Yogis, published by Prolific Press (2017). He has an upcoming book of short stories entitled, The Asthmatic Kid and Other Stories. His stories and poetry have appeared in Fiction on the Web, smokebox, Friday Flash Fiction, Amethyst Magazine, Leaves of Ink, Vita Brevis, among others. His website is Crow On The Wire.

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