Mr. Dare

Here's a little ditty for ya. Let's see what you folks think.

A young nurse was working her shift, and one day, as she was making her rounds, she discovered that she had a new patient. The old man that lay in the hospital bed was sleeping, and as the young nurse looked over his chart, she saw that he was suffering from a serious heart condition. Apparently, this heart condition was irreversable, and eventually, the old man would fall asleep one day, and not wake up. When she slipped the blood pressure sleeve over his upper arm, the man awoke, and smiled up at the nurse. The young nurse, who we'll call Linda, was taken aback by the bluest eyes she had ever seen.
"Well hello there, young lady." said the old man. Linda thought he had a wonderful speaking voice. It was the sort you heard on the radio when the d.j. was doing those hour-long romance dedication shows. It was a deep, and velvety voice, that made you smile when you heard it.
"Good afternoon, sir. Just taking your blood pressure, and your temperature." Linda said, and raised a thermometer to his mouth. The old man opened his mouth and laid still as she took his vitals. Once she was finished, the old man looked up at Linda and said.
"How's the blood pressure?"
"It's low." Linda answered, and marked her finding down on her chart.
"Linda." the old man said, and when Linda looked at him, he was smiling warmly. "My wife's name was Linda. And you're just about as pretty as she was." he smiled. Linda smiled back, thinking that it was sweet of that old man to compliment her like that...even though she never thought of herself as pretty! He extended his hand to the young nurse.
"My name is Drake. Drake Dare." he said.
"Wow, " Linda began, "Were you ever in the movies?" she chuckled.
"Oh heavens no. I was in the millitary, though." Mr. Dare confessed.
"Really, what branch?" Linda asked.
"I was a marine." he answered quietly.
"Well, I hope that my caretaking is up to your standards, sir!" Linda said, and saluted her patient. Now it was Mr. Dare's turn to chuckle.
"I'm sure it will be." Mr. Dare answered, and a moment later, he looked as though he were falling asleep, and soon, he was.
As the weeks passed, Linda became fond of Mr. Dare. She found that she was anxious to see him, and enjoyed herself when she chatted with him for a few moments. He always had a smile, his eyes would twinkle with life despite his prognosis, and though he was well into his eighties, he had a full head of white, thick, wavy hair. Linda could still see the handsome and dashing looks that he undoubtably possessed as a young man, and knew that in his younger days, he was certainly the sort of man that made every woman wish he was hers. She could also tell that he was a sweet, and decent man. Never high on himself, kind, disciplined, and hard working.
She learned that he had married at 26, and that his wife, who had already passed away, was a mere 19 when they married. They had no children, but they were never apart. If he was sent overseas, his wife was always with him. And when she became ill, Mr. Dare took a leave of abscence to be with his beloved wife in her final days. She was only 37 when she passed. Mr. Dare never remarried, because his heart only held a place for his wife.
"She was the only woman for me. And one day, we'll be together again." Mr. Dare had told Linda. Though Linda had been a nurse for eight years, and had seen patients die, it bothered her immensely when he said this.
Mr. Dare had stunned his doctors when he survived longer than they had initially thought he would. After tests, and findings, they had told him that he would probably only live for eight to ten weeks. But now, three months later, Mr. Dare was still alive, though there was no improvement. Linda's friendship with her patient grew from small chats when she was at work, to two hour long visits on her days off. She and Mr. Drake Dare would sit and talk about everything. Linda loved his stories, his intellegence, and the way he seemed to become animated when he would speak of his wife, and there life together. Even now, Linda could tell, that Mr. Dare was still deeply in love with his wife. And in a way she had never known, she felt a love for Mr. Dare.
"Why don't you have a fine young fella that's courting you, young lady?" Mr. Dare asked Linda one day. Linda wrinkled her nose, and then smiled, a little embarrassed.
"I don't know." she started, "I'm too fat, and men like those skinny girls." Linda stated. Mr. Drake laughed.
"Dear girl, do you know, that my Linda was a big woman herself?"
Linda was shocked. She envisioned his wife as someone that matched his Hollywood-type appearance. A woman that was not unlike Greta Garbo, or Grace Kelly.
"Really?" Linda asked, with a hint of encouragement.
"Yes she was," Mr. Dare said, "And she was the most beautiful woman I had ever known."
Linda sighed. The type of love that Mr. Dare was speaking of, didn't exist anymore.
"Men want supermodels, now, not frumpy looking women." Linda laughed, trying to hide the red tint that was blooming in her face.
"Oh, they wanted supermodels when I was a young man, too." Mr. Dare chuckled.
"What was it that attracted you to your wife." Linda asked. And Mr. Dare smiled broadly, and then seemed to stare into space.
"She was sweet. she made me feel like I was the greatest man that ever walked the earth. When I met my Linda, life just started moving up! She truly loved me. And she was kind..." he started, "She was smart, and witty, and could handle just about anything that came our way. Real level headed, and articulate. She kept me grounded, and kept me balanced. And I honestly thought she was beautiful." Mr. Dare smiled. He glanced at Linda, who's eyes were glassy with the onset of tears.
"She used to keep her hair pulled up, in a twist behind her head, but at night, she would take her hair down, and all those cascading waves of golden hair, just made her look like an angel." he sighed.
"That's beautiful." Linda replied in a quivering voice. And at that moment, she fell in love with Mr. Dare a little bit more.
"I agree." Mr. Dare smiled, but he was looking at Linda. On that day, Mr. Dare had told Linda to be herself, and that if she stayed true to that, one day, she would find the right man. As she left, she gently placed a kiss on Mr. Dare's cheek. He blushed.
"Thanks for the pep talk." she smiled.
"My pleasure." he replied.
Three weeks into Mr. Dare's forth month, he took a turn for the worse. He was very weak, didn't talk, and it brought tears to Linda's eyes when she went to his room to see him quiet, and not responding. In two days, he had slipped into a coma. Linda talked to him as though he were awake and enjoying the conversation anyway. In the weeks that followed, Linda met, and began having lunch with a young intern named Jason. They met when Jason had approached her because she had looked so sad, sitting in the cafateria, staring at the food on her tray. He introduced himself, and asked her why she looked so sad. Linda told Jason about Mr. Dare, and he listened sympathetically. When she began to cry, she grabbed a napkin and dapped her eyes, hoping that her mascara wasn't running.
"I probably look terrible to you right now!" she said, managing a laugh through her tears.
"I think you look fantastic." Jason smiled. Linda was a little more than stunned to see that he appeared to mean it. The more time Jason and Linda spent together, the more it was apparent that he was interested in her, and she was delighted, but also a little scared to think it was possible. The feeling was mutual, but Linda just couldn't bring herself to think that someone like Jason would be interested in someone like her.
One day, Linda entered Mr. Dare's room to find a doctor at the foot of Mr. Dare's bed. The doctor was studying Mr. Dare's chart and hadn't really noticed Linda come in.
"How's he doin'?" Linda asked quietly.
"It's a mystery." the doctor answered.
"What is?" Linda asked, staring at the doctor for some glimmer of hope.
"Well, he's made it past all of our expectations, yet he hasn't improved physically. He's even slipped into a coma, but as weak as his heart is, it's still hanging in there, and he doesn't require life support." the doctor replied.
"Do you think he'll pull out of it?" Linda asked.
"Not likely." the doctor answered, "It's like he's holding on for something." he replied, and then left the room.
Once the doctor was gone, Linda closed the door to the room, and walked over beside Mr. Dare's bed, and took his hand.
"Your Linda needs you, Drake." she said in a shakey voice, "I'll be fine. I promise." Linida began to cry, and was so overcome with emotion, she couldn't speak. When she had regained control, she squeezed his hand, and smiled.
"I met somebody." she said, and when Mr. Drake Dare didn't respond, she felt her heart turn over.
"I am going to stay true to myself. I have learned so much for you. You've given me so much inspiration, but Linda misses you Drake, and I will too... but I can let you go, and go on...happily. You don't have to stay here for me. I can do it. And if you want to go, you won't leave me lost. The light you put inside my heart, will light my path for years to come." With that, Linda kissed his forehead, and reluctantly left Mr. Dare's room.
When Linda came to work the next morning, she was not surprised to see that Mr. Drake Dare had passed away the night before. She stood in the doorway of his room, and sighed. It hurt, and even deeper than she had thought it would. Just as she was turning around to leave, Jason appeared in front of her.
"Hey..." he said, giving her a warm smile, "I just heard about your buddy. You gonna be okay?" he asked. Linda sighed, and then felt her eyes get watery. "Yeah." she whispered, and gave Jason a quick smile.
Together they walked back to the nurses station, and discussed a possible date.
"I don't know you that well, but I would like to." Jason said, "I mean, the timing might be way off! And if you need time, you know, I don't want to seem insensitive, but I just, I don't know. I just wanted to get to know you." he said. Linda smiled brilliantly.
"I would like that, Jason." she replied. Jason's reply was a huge smile, and then he clapped his hands together and did a little dance. Linda laughed.
"Great, so, uh, maybe this weekend?"
"Okay. Maybe this weekend." Linda said.
Jason walked over to the elevators, and Linda watched him step into the elevator. As she stood there thinking, one of the nurses placed a huge bouquet of roses in a crystal vase on the counter.
"These are for you." the nurse said, and Linda smiled, thinking that Jason had gone through all the trouble of giving her roses.
She smelled a few of the blooms, and then took the card, and read it.

..................Thanks for the pep talk...............Love, Drake...........................

"Who delivered these?" Linda exclaimed. The nurse who had placed the roses on the counter smiled, and said, "This really HOT marine!"
"This some sort of joke?" Linda said, with a furrowed brow.
"No! Ask anybody, we were all drooling over him when he came in!" she said.
"Yeah, Linda, what have you been doing? You seem to have all these good looking guys checking you out all the sudden!" Said another nurse.
"Whatever it is, I want some too!" said yet another. Linda frowned at the card.
"It couldn't be." she thought to herself. Then, Linda felt as though someone was looking at her. When she raised her head, there, at the far end of the hall, was a man in a marine uniform. Linda's heart began to race, and she left her senses momentarily. The handsome man walked closer, until Linda could see his eyes. They were a radient, sparkling, illuminated blue. Linda gasped. Among the visitor, orderlies, nurses and doctors in the halls, no one seemed to notice him. He took off his hat, and smiled brilliantly at Linda. He was so handsome, that Linda felt like she was looking at a celestial being. Then, he winked, and gave her another smile, and walked into the elevator, that had just arrived.
Linda ran to the elevator, and stood in the doorway, keeping the doors from closing by leaning on one side. She was met with a group of people with blank expressions on their faces. Linda stared at the group of people, looking for Drake.
"Up or down." one woman finally demanded. Linda let go of the doors, and backed away from the elevator. Her frown now replaced with a smile.
"Up." she said to herself, "Life just started moving up.", and went about her rounds happily.

If it looks like a ghost, and it scares like a ghost, then dangit, it's a ghost!!!