Little Lambs Eat Ivy
(Until I find the notebook with more of 'He Came with the House'...)
Little Lambs Eat Ivy
Adam met Eve in the old folk’s home.
It was a brand new place, and not cheap either. With its plush green carpets, fresh-cut flowers and acres of landscaped property protected from the Arizona desert by an obscene number of sprinklers, Deen Gardens filled up immediately. Now there is a seven year waiting list.
Adam had the pleasure of being the first person admitted to the home. The papers took his picture as he cut the Welcome Home cake, doctors and nurses all standing around in white and smiling. Such a big la de dah going on around the old guy. He was interviewed, poked, prodded and escorted to his new rooms where they finally left him alone.
With no children, or any other relatives for that matter, Adam unpacked by himself the things he had packed by himself. He took a short nap and at four o’clock put his teeth back in, changed into a burgundy sweater-vest and matching tie, and found the dining room. By now, other residents had settled in and also found their way to dinner. Adam, though not antisocial, took his plate of roast beef and mashed potatoes to a little table along the wall and watched his fellow diners. He wasn’t yet ready to socialize, still somewhat shell-shocked by all the earlier fuss. It had been years since he’d made the papers, the last time for selling the foundry started by his father in the 1800s. Adam had been twenty years younger, still straight-backed though thinning on top. He was tired of the responsibility and wanted to travel while he still had his health.
Mostly, he was tired of his father’s portrait hanging behind his desk, glaring a hole into the space between his shoulder blades. A man can carry the weight of his father on his shoulders for only so long.
Adam never got around to traveling. The time never seemed right to leave. He loved springs and autumns in his home town and didn’t want to miss them. Humid summers made him too torpid to care. Michigan winters froze him in place, adhered by extreme cold to his comfy chair by the fireplace. The longest trip he’d ever made was to Deen Gardens in Arizona, lured by a brochure sent to him in the middle of a particularly damp and frigid season. He could feel the dry heat of the place coming off the paper. Though still under construction, Adam saw his destiny in Deen Gardens, as if built just for him. He bought an apartment there, sight unseen, and became the much-acclaimed first man on the list. Now he sat with his decision in the dining room of his new home – the only other place he had ever lived – and studied his fellow occupants.
He entertained himself by giving them all nicknames. One little brown wrinkly man he dubbed “Toad”, and was delighted to see him start a conversation with a tall man dressed in green who naturally became “Frog”. “Peacock” and “Peahen” strutted in with matching blue hair and casual yet tasteful warm-up suits of a shiny material. Then came “Hound Dog” with the sagging jowls and “Kitty” of the green eyes and snarling “Old Badger” , sharp-faced “Fox” and bespectacled “Owl”. Adam watched them enter in ones and twos, flock around the buffet, then migrate together to large round tables. Adam sat alone. He finished his dinner alone. He returned to his apartment, undressed and went to bed alone, as he had done for so long. Really, he thought, in the end what has changed but my address?...