“Lookin’ Thru the Looking Glass”

Guest Writer: R. L. Norman

As I sat there, I just stared into space, oblivious to my situation for a brief moment. I felt like I was in a dream; as a matter of fact, a dream that was a nightmare that I wanted to wake up from.

I just stared through the glass into what was my gut-wrenching situation at that moment in time. I felt like Alice in Wonderland,  looking through the looking glass. It was like peering through a mirror into a world that you don’t want to be in.

As I sat there waiting for my reality to reappear on the other side of the glass, my mind wandered back to the past…back to my first love.  Truly, it touched my heart every time I thought of him.  And it still does.

We met in college. He was the roommate of a good friend of mine. They lived off-campus and every time I came over to visit, he treated me so badly. He’d yell at me, cuss me out, call me names, etc., etc. He said I was like a stray dog who needed a home since I was always over there. I dreaded seeing him because I knew he hated me for some reason.

I just didn’t understand it.

That was until I realized that what he was doing was what little boys do in preschool when they liked little girls. They’d pull their hair and treat them terribly.

All because they didn’t know what else to do.

And that’s what he was doing! It became evident the night he asked me to ride with him to pick up some food for dinner. From that point on, he stopped “pulling my hair,” so to speak.

Instead, we started dating!  We became inseparable. I remember the night he told me he loved me while we were sitting in the car looking at the stars. I remember how my heart just sank in awe from the nearly overwhelming feeling of love for him.

I remembered the day after we graduated from college and he had to ship off to the Air Force. He dropped by my house to say goodbye. That day, we both hugged and cried when he gave me his college flying corps hat, and a watch for me to count the minutes until we were back together again.

I remembered the time when we lost contact with each other because of his secret Air Force missions.  I thought and then groused, “Damn the military.” But during those years of separation, my heart still had a place for him.

I remembered that time, just by chance, he found me years later on Facebook. And I remember the first time I saw him again those so many years later.

I remembered us falling in love all over again. We started dating as my heart belonged to him once again.

I remembered when we got married. It was like a fairy tale that came true– the perfect love story.

I remembered when we bought our first home, got a dog, adopted kids—lived a blessed life.

I remembered when we purchased two rocking chairs for the front porch. As we watched our grandkids play in our front yard, we sat in those seats.

I remembered it all. 

But as I sat there, my heart was in pain as I looked through that looking glass, seeing my beloved being wheeled into the hospital room.

He was in a chair in front of the window. Slowly, he raised his feeble, trembling hand, pressing it against the windowpane. I did the same.  And as the reality of the situation became so very real, tears fell from our eyes, all the way down our faces.

He was in quarantine and dying because of the coronavirus. 

After all these years, this was the only time that we were not able to hug, kiss, and feel each other. All because people put others at risk because they didn’t do a little thing like wearing a mask.

We were both very conscious of and responsible about our health. Not just for us, but our family as well. We always wore masks!  It was an easy thing to do.

It was not like we had to wear them 24 hours a day. It was only when we went into a store, or the doctor’s office, or around groups of people, etc. Ten–fifteen minutes at a time. No real struggle. We lived the “better safe than sorry” attitude.

But because others did not feel that way, here we were.

At the place that might be his last place of residence.

If he were to pass away. my heart would die with him. It reminds me of my grandparents. They were in love and married for 62 years. And a few months after my grandfather died, my grandmother followed him; dead from a broken heart. And I wonder if I will follow suit.

So, there I sat, peering through the looking glass at my reality. Looking at the love of my life in pain all because someone could or would not do something as simple as wear a mask.

Nearly half a million of us have died from this virus. 500,000+ plus family members and loved ones have been affected by the heartache of it all.

All because someone did not care about their health and wear a mask.

My love and I texted each other a lot because he couldn’t talk and could barely breathe.  He texted me that he was giving me something to hold for him until the day he was released.  He knew that if he went to heaven, I might not be able to get his belongings. Just then though,  a nurse approached and handed me an envelope.

In it was the matching gold cross that we gave each other the day we married. The cross that I put on his neck and which he never took off.

I promised him that I would hold on to it and put it back around his neck once again.

Once again, our eyes filled with tears, and our hands parted from the window.  I told him that I would return;  that I would never say goodbye.

I walked away with love in my heart and hatred in my mind toward those people out there who wouldn’t wear masks.

To those people, be responsible for your health and care about others. The virus is real. Wear a mask to protect yourself and others. This virus does not discriminate. It can happen to anyone overnight just like it happened to us.

Fast forward to the present.  By the grace of God, once again we are sitting in our rocking chairs on the front porch watching our grandkids play. The gold cross is back around his neck.

But you know, things could have been entirely different!   And again, wearing a mask is a simple thing to do for a few minutes. So, help save lives.  Maybe your own.

Because if it happened to me, it can happen to you.

R. L. Norman is a writer, podcaster, performer, and author of the popular series of novels entitled, “Honey Let Me Tell You.”  The fifth installment “Honey, Hush Don’t Ask And I Won’t Tell ” was a sizzling sequel to the series. Now his sixth and seventh books, “Honey, I Can’t Stand The Rain” and “Honey, Love is a Rollercoaster,” both debut in 2021. As well, R. L.’s “Norman’s One Night Stand,” a one-man show he conceived, performed, and wrote, showcasing the main character of his series, returns next year. And catch his podcast, “Honey Let Me Tell You Something Else” also returning soon to Itunes. All of these endeavors are part of his production company, Honey Let Me Tell You. You may reach R. L. at his online home, https://rlnorman1.wixsite.com/honeyletmetellyou; by email at rl.norman@aol.com; on Facebook at RL NORMAN; on Twitter, @rl_norman; and on Instagram: rlnorman1.