Yesterday I was visited by the ghost of Jacob Marley. I had to go to the library to watch a documentary (An Inconvenient Truth - hardly a documentary. I preferred hearing Al Gore proclaim the dangers of Man-Bear-Pig). It got over around 2:00 and I realized I hadn't had lunch. I wandered over to the Wilk to get some food and as I walked into the Cougareat I ran into a startlingly familiar face. An older gentleman with a BYU t-shirt waddled past me with his walker, and I blurted out a "Hi Larry!"
He quickly answered hello and kept walking towards the terrace. I turned and watched him walk away, confused by this encounter. Last year I had participated in a mentoring program called Best Buddies, in which I met with Larry, a handicapped gentleman, for a few hours a month. Larry is 63 years old. He's bald and pear-shaped, and he has hearing difficulty. He's the happiest, nicest guy you'll meet, even if he doesn't remember you.
I got some food and wondered what Larry was doing on campus. I thought maybe there was some Best Buddies activity going on that day, but I didn't see any other visitors. After I finished eating I walked back out toward the terrace and saw Larry get on an elevator. Where the heck is he going? I wondered. I walked over to the elevator and saw that he'd gone to the 4th floor. I stepped in the adjacent elevator and punched 4. When the doors opened, there was Larry, standing in the hallway, looking very confused.
"Whatcha doing Larry?" I asked. He responded that he was looking for football tickets for the fall.
"Did you take the bus up here?"
Apparently Larry had been coming up every Saturday looking for football tickets. Unfortunately just about everything is closed on Saturdays, so he hadn't made much progress.
Looking outside at the rain, I wondered how Larry was going to get home. I asked him if I could give him a ride, and he looked at me, a little defeated by the tickets problem, and said, "Okay."
As we walked to the JFSB parking lot in the drizzle, we got reacquainted. I asked him about his sister in American Fork, his mother who's in an Alzheimer's unit, and what he'd been doing since he no longer worked at D.I. I showed him a picture on my phone of him in a Batman costume and asked him if he remembered going to a Halloween party with me.
"Oh!" he blurted out, with a flash of recognition. Five minutes later he'd forgotten who I was again.
We finally got to the parking lot and he yelled with delight as we rose up out of the underground parking onto the rainy roads above. I drove past my house and showed him my duck.
"Hey Galya, this is my friend Larry!" He just laughed and looked away bashfully.
We pulled up to his apartment and I helped him get his walker out of the car. He still had no idea who I was or how I knew where he lived, but he didn't seem to care. He was just glad to be back to his place. We shook hands and I closed the door, wondering why Larry and I had lost touch.
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