Forrest Daniels’ eyes darted. He was alone. He stood and anxiously walked towards the gate with a need to escape, to get away. To where? He didn’t know. He grabbed the gate and pulled. It opened several inches and then came to a jarring stop. Forrest looked at the padlocked chain and yanked angrily on the gate several times in a vain attempt to open it.
A warm, friendly voice interrupted his efforts, “Forrest? Is everything ok?”
Forrest looked at Mrs. Anderson, the neighbor of twelve years, with a confused expression. He barked, “Who are you?” and pulled the gate hard, so hard that when it abruptly stopped the entire chain link fence rattled.
Mrs. Anderson calmly answered, “I’m Mrs. Anderson, your neighbor.” As she opened the lid of the large green trash bin and dropped a black bulging plastic bag into the container, Mrs. Anderson kept an eye on Forrest. She commented, “Nice day to be outside,” and smiled warmly at the eighty-three year old. She looked past Forrest, “Oh, here comes your wife.”
Five-four Margaret was bustling across the lawn and as she got near, placed her hand on Forrest’s arm. He turned abruptly and snapped, “Don’t touch me!”
In a calm, firm voice, Margaret stated, “Forrest look at me. Now, calm down. Everything’s ok.”
Forrest stared into the brown eyes of the frail, grey haired woman. The love, the compassion that he saw touched something deep inside and his demeanor changed.
“Forrest, let’s go inside ok? I’ll get you some cake.” Forrest slowly started walking towards the house. Before following Margaret turned and mouthed, “Thank you” to Mrs. Anderson.