I’ve Walked a Thousand Days by Cooper Nelson

“Good afternoon Mr. Oldman, I brought you your lunch.”

“She was born in 1937, we met in 1953.”

“I brought you lunch…Chicken fried steak and a cherry jell-o cup, your favorite.”

“She attended West Lincoln High School…Springfield, Illinois.”

“Mr. Oldman, you need to eat.”

“We had a dog, two dogs actually.”

“Mr. Oldman eat your jell-o. You love jell-o.”

“Annie and Winsor.”

“Okay, how about a bite of steak?”

“One was a border collie I remember…Maybe Annie?”

“Here let me cut it for you.”

“Stupid thing got hit by a car.”

“Here you go take a bite.”

“Annie was a sweetie; always wanted to play fetch.”

“Here, open up…Careful now it’s hot.”

“We had a house in the country; big tree in the front yard.”

“Mr. Oldman look at me. You need to eat.”

“Was it on forty-fifth street or fifty-fourth?”

“Mr. Oldman please eat.”

“We had a neighbor…Big fellow, drank a lot.”

“Mr. Oldman look at me. Turn this way so you can eat.”

“Died in a car wreck; drunk driving I assume.”

“Okay how about we try the jell-o?”

“Hit by a car…just like that dog.”

“This looks good doesn’t it? Can you smell the cherry? I can, smells good.”

“Susan loved that dog. His name was Winsor. She named him.”

“Mr. Oldman you won’t get many more chances to eat. Please pay attention and eat.”

“She used to buy him clothes to wear. He had a fit each time she tried to put it on him.”

“How about we try some coffee? Or juice? I brought both. You like juice…its cranberry.”

“I didn’t favor new clothes much either…Always itchy.”

“Can you take a drink please?”

“She always got them for me. Nice clothes though I guess.”

Mr. Oldman you are not complying well. We were trying to work on this remember? You said you would try extra hard for me.”

“She got me a suit once for my first day at work.”

“Can you look at me Mr. Oldman?”

“Grey suit, blue tie…job at a high school if I recall correctly.”

“Mr. Oldman can you look over here at me?”

“There you go that’s better. See isn’t that better? Doing what I say? It makes things easier.”


“No Mr. Oldman…Remember your wife passed a long, long time ago.”

“Did you bring in the dogs? It’s raining outside. Annie doesn’t like the rain.”

“Now Mr. Oldman you know I’m not your wife. Do you remember who I am?”

“Is David Pike still alive? Haven’t seen him around lately. He’s usually at the coffee shop downtown…round seven.”

“I don’t know who this Mr. Pike is. You aren’t at home; you’re in your room…your room at Sun Valley Nursing Home. Do you remember that?”

“We were buddies back in the war. Three years together.”

“Mr. Oldman you need to start to remember. Let’s start with me…Who am I?”

“Nam…Marines…three years of duty…sick stuff…hard times…good men.”

“My name is Rachel…Do you remember me? Rachel Starsky?”

“Had a baby waiting for me at home.”

“I have been your nurse for two years. You need to start remembering.”

“Daren…little guy…small hands….cute smile…I made him laugh once.”

“Now I know you can remember because you are remembering all of these past things. Can you stop talking about that and tell me more about what is currently going on?...Please?”

“I was happy to be a dad...Happy to have a boy.”

“He was named after his grandpa…He fought in France…First airborne…Great soldier.”

“Can you tell me how old you are?”

“I miss him…and Mom.”

“Alright this isn’t working. I am sorry Mr. Oldman but you remember what the doctor said. You need to start remembering and not talking all crazy. You’re not giving me a choice.”

“Susan…Do you like Rachel? It’s a pretty name…If we ever have a girl.”

“I want a girl…”

“I’m Rachel Mr. Oldman…I’m not Susan. Remember she is your wife. She passed a long time ago.”

“Susan would you like to have a girl?”

“Mr. Oldman I’m sorry but you’re showing no signs of change, and you know what the doctor said.”

“We should move back to Illinois. Arizona is too hot for me.”

“But the dogs did hate the rain…”

“Mr. Oldman hold out your arm.”

“Susan you love me right…and you’re proud of me?”

“Now you’re going to feel a slight pinch, but then you will feel all better.”

“I am really sorry…I tried to help you…Just please remember. What is my name?”

“She was born in 1937, we met in 1953.”

“It was a pleasure to know you Mr. Oldman. I’m going to miss you.”

“You were a great man, and I’m sure you will be happy. You’re wife will be waiting. She’s going to be happy to see you again. It sounded like you two had a great life together and really loved one another.”

“She attended West Lincoln High School…Springfield, Illinois.”

“It will all be over in a few seconds…I am so sorry Mr. Oldman.”

“Thank you for the jell-o…Rachel.”

Cooper Nelson is a junior at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona. He is double majoring in communications with an emphasis on Public Relations and English, while also spending the last two years playing basketball at the collegiate level. He is employeed part time as an English and writing tutor for the university and spends the rest of his free time freelance writing and writing short stories and novels. He aspires one day to work at a public relations firm and be an established, successful author. Cooper has already published his first book, Blume, a science fiction story, and is currently in the process of writing more as he works on earning his degree and advancing into other facets of life.