Maurice was born into a family of modern aspirants in a small suburb in America. However, something about her has always bothered them.
See, Maurice had a genetic condition that made her age how a racehorse runs. By sixteen, Maurice looked like a 27-year-old woman.
Since she was seven, her palms and lips shed every winter. Besides, her body always shows a fever and bares its veins.
Still, Maurice and her average intellect and strength but her adamant zest must work. Having graduated, she finds home in a retirement home.
First Day at the Retirement Home
A job at the retirement home did not call for much: all you had to do was clean and nurse. Maurice, “27”, did not grow fond of the place; she fell in love with it.
When she first stepped in, Bon (short for Bonnie) mistook her for a prospective stay-in guest. She touched her hands and her face yet could not confirm she told the truth.
Though Bon would not trust her, people like her were never Maurice’s go-to. Besides, she had come here with a plan. With a wide grin, she leaves the lobby.
Making Wrinkly Friends
The next morning, Bon is surprised to see that Maurice got along with all the guests. Well, they are no more guests to her; after all, she has worked here for 18 years. Their slow banter fills her with jealous joy.
The men and women have different reactions to Maurice though they both like her. Apparently, the men prefer to touch her skin and face where the women want more past. Regardless, her story fazes the entire building with anyone hearing the littlest rattles heard from anywhere. Mind you, these are 80-year-olds.
Some Old People Share an Ill-deserved Fate
Her new friends come from all kinds of jobs:
Anne was a skydiver–“How I miss bursting out of a cloud!” she says. She has always been adventurous, and her sons jealous as they did not get her time or care.
Javier was a police officer downtown. His family left him after another cop framed him with weed.
Sid came from India in the fall of 1981 to trade. However, he had superior musical talent and became a rock star.
Last, Tama came from Norway. She has one reason to be here: she never gave birth.
We Ignore Old People till We Age
Maurice converses generously with the old people in this old home. She fits in here not because of her skin but her mind, which is just ripe enough. Sid sits quiet at a desk in the corner. The once-rad pop-rocker’s spirit has died.
“Can you still play?” Maurice asks. Staring blankly at the cream walls for a while, Sid says, “How can I, with no audience?” “You have me,” Maurice says. “Yes, but no songs for you.”
“You see, throughout my life, I have rocked in Arabia and Belgium. I have broken strings, sung nude, drunk gallons. Yet, I have no soul in me now. My soul is stuck at home, and so are my audience: my ignored Mom and Pop.”
Maurice holds back flooding tears.
Old Regrets: To Do or Not to Do?
Besides not giving his parents time, Sid regrets all the sins. Therefore, he devotes his time to God. Again, Maurice expected Tama to regret one thing, but she sees all things with the positive lens.
“You know, I heard it first when I was 17, about to become an adult. The doctor was teary-eyed–like it mattered so much to her.
Well, what can you do? Some can have babies, and some cannot. Who is this God to deny me my happiness?
I have aced tests, climbed peaks, and ridden the rodeo. I have orchestrated, sung, and even jumped with Anna there. Therefore, waddle through the air like there’s enemies scattered amidst.”
[“That’s Anne, but I would have forgotten, too. But what a remarkable journey,” Maurice says.]
Everyone Has a Different View
As Maurice approaches, “Look at that pot,” Javier tells–or rather gestures–her. “Do you see the light?”
“Now, that same light, from an angle, hides the handle. Hence, some beeline towards the handle where others fear the unknown.
When our marriage was ripe, my wife cheated on me with a youngster. Later, my best friend “exposed” me–I saw a day’s work in that cocaine; he saw a stage show.
My point: everything you appreciate with your eyes has other admirers. Moreover, frankly, it enjoys some more than it does you. The gift of sight is not truly unraveled until you know this.”
Maurice is speechless and in awe.
Followers Lose the Most
Maurice takes leave from Javier and walks down the corridor. She hears a coarse voice say, “Mau- rice… Here.”
Maurice rushes to help the old woman, who tried her best to run with her crutch. It is Anne.
They sit. “I have something special to say. Do not listen to them. Look inside,” Anne says.
“Um… excuse me?” Maurice replies.
“I have forever followed: leaders, bosses, and even co-workers. I became a hippie and even got into a yoga cult.
However, Tama became my friend. My cheery lovely friend helped me overcome what was holding me back: fear.
You will see, too, that the outside is just a clever playing field where courage always wins. You, too, must look inward to sculpt your future. A bright one.”
It has been two months, and the retirement home is collecting dust–all of it is. All the residents, including Anne, Javier, Sid, and Tama, have found homes. Some went back home, bit some found fresh home.
“I wonder if they will relearn the smell of home,” Maurice thinks. She has masterminded every move that took everyone back home. Every old man or woman had one thing to say in the end–“Long live Maurice.”