My boyfriend works part time in a camping store. The owner (who is a wonderful guy) has brain cancer. He spent a month and a half in MGH where they operated on him three times. (One planned and two emergencies.) They've now moved him to a rehabilitation hospital in the North End. He's 88.
We had a going away party for one of his employees last night. Going away parties consist of all employees and their significant others and the owner and his lady friend going out to Boston Beer Works or The Grand Canal and having greasy bar food (Beer Works actually serves fried pickles) and drinks. It's a always a good time. This time of course, the owner was missing.
All day one of the guys had been saying that we should all go over and visit him (the owner) in the rehab place after the party. I assumed he was joking. "Yeah--that's a great idea. That's just what every rehab hospital needs--20 drunk people showing up late at night." I said the first time the plan was mentioned.
But then at about 8:30 the plan came up again. "It's just down the street--we can be there in 5 minutes." said the main instigator. In the end it wasn't 20 people--more like 10 and it wasn't that late and we weren't that drunk.
The weather was beautiful--a hot Saturday had cooled to a breezy Saturday night. I took my shoes off and walked through the grass and the fountain at the Rose Kennedy Greenway. There were still little kids running through the fountain in their underwear.
We walked down the street and into the hospital. A woman at the front desk looked at all of us and asked "Are you all set?" We didn't respond--we just hit the up button on the elevator.
All of us filed into the hospital room. For a wonder, the patient was still away reading the Globe. Here we were--an odd assortment of people in their party clothes visiting a hospital on a Saturday night. We talked and joked for a few minutes. Somehow we felt we could say the one thing we didn't say (or at least I could never bring myself to say) when we visited this guy in the daylight "We miss you."
And then we all said goodbye one at a time (which was nice, but a little funereal.) All the women kissed the patient on the cheek and all the men shook his hand. And we went out into the beautiful summer night to find more fun.