Life

Octogenarian Love Story: From London to Sydney, a Timeless Romance

  On Valentine’s Day, I went to the airport to pick up Martin, an octogenarian who came from London to visit his fiancée of sixty years ago. As the car drove on the highway, I felt uneasy. What kind of person was Martin? What should I say when I see him?
  The nursing home where I work has more than a hundred elderly people. Recently, the resident pastor launched a “Wish Grant” activity, where the elderly can tell the hospital their unfulfilled wishes, and as long as they are reasonable, the hospital will help them realize them. Julie, who has never been married, told the pastor her wish: to ask her British boyfriend Martin to come to Australia to meet her. They fell in love in London in the 1950s and became privately engaged for life, but their love eventually lost to distance. Based on the clues provided by Julie, the hospital found Martin, who was widowed and living alone in London. Finally, he booked a flight and chose Valentine’s Day to arrive to meet Julie. However, Julie died of a heart attack two days ago!
  I held a sign with Martin’s name on it and saw a tall, thin gentleman wearing a dark blue windbreaker and a red scarf walking towards me. His blue eyes were smiling and he had an imposing manner. He opened his mouth covered with white beard: ” Hello! I am Martin Newman from London. Thank you for coming to pick me up.” I hurriedly greeted him: “Welcome, Mr. Newman!” He said: “I really look forward to seeing Julie here.” I could only whisper The answer: “Julie can’t come.” He asked: “How is Julie?” I remained silent. Half an hour later we arrived. I introduced him to Julie’s room, and he was shocked: the walls were full of photos of him and Julie traveling in the UK: in front of London Bridge, on the banks of the Thames, and among the rose bushes in Hyde Park. “Where’s Julie?” he asked. Her bed was made neatly. I said, “You are tired after a long journey and need to adjust to the jet lag. Please sleep in bed for a while. I will wake you up before dinner.” He winked at me mischievously and said, “She wants to surprise me with a romantic dinner on Valentine’s Day, right?” Then he undressed. Fell asleep.
  At the office, we are planning Julie’s funeral because she is single and has no children. The biggest problem is how to tell Martin this sad news? Julie’s lawyer also came. In her will, all of her lifetime property of more than one million Australian dollars was donated to Martin.
  At around five o’clock in the afternoon, the lawyer and the dean asked me to go see Martin. He was already awake and fully dressed. He picked a white rose from the vase on the table and inserted it into the chest of his dark suit. He was squinting at the wall. Take the photos and get lost in thoughts and memories. Seeing everyone coming in with serious faces, he immediately understood what was going on and said, “I’m late!” and then listened to the dean and lawyer announcing everything to him.
  At Julie’s funeral, Martin took the stage to speak and recalled that he and Julie met on the London Underground. He accompanied the beautiful Australian girl all over London, laughing all the way and leaving beautiful photos. Finally, when London Bridge rose and disconnected, the first kiss and proposal. After Julie returned to Australia, they lost contact and he eventually got married in the UK and became his father. I was widowed a year ago, but I received a message from Australian Julie a few months ago. Unfortunately, it was too late. Martin was the former mayor of London and spoke a pure Oxford accent. His speech was very fluent and touching. Everyone shed tears after listening to it, lamenting that fate had played a trick on them and separated the lovers. However, Martin rushed to see Julie off for the last time. , gave her body a gentle kiss on the forehead, and her spirit in heaven was comforted.
  After Julie’s funeral, the new coronavirus spread around the world, Australia was locked down, and there were no flights back to the UK. Martin had to stay in a nursing home. He said: “I like living in Julie’s room. Her soul is still in the room and is with me. I will be alone when I return to England, so just let me stay in this beautiful country!” The hospital organized it for him. Go through admission procedures. He goes to the living room every morning to read the newspaper and do exercises. Play games and listen to music in the afternoon. A doctor comes to check him every week, and he is given three meals and two snacks.
  One day, Martin was walking in the garden and saw an old lady with silver curly hair and gold-rimmed glasses. He went over to say hello: “How are you? I’m Martin, from London.” The old lady squinted and smiled: “I know you, I live next door to you, I’m Mary.” From then on, they often met for walks. Mary loved literature, and her bookcases were filled with Shakespeare’s works and Shelley’s poetry collections. She invited Martin to discuss English literature with her. Gradually, Martin sat in Mary’s room chatting almost every day. During the lockdown, no visitors were allowed in nursing homes. When Mary’s children came to see her, they could only stand outside the window. Mary introduced them generously: “This is Martin, a British gentleman. We are discussing English literature.”
  Martin saw her large swimsuit photo hanging on the wall in Mary’s room. , proudly wearing the Olympic gold medal, only to learn that Mary was once an excellent diver, winning gold medals for Australia in the 1960s. Mary and Martin said: “Do you know what my biggest wish is?” Martin said: “Go back to the diving platform and dive.” Mary shouted: “You are so considerate, this is my dream!” Martin said: ” It’s never too late to realize your dreams!” Martin took Mary to see Pastor Jiang and told him Mary’s wish. Pastor Jiang was a little surprised when he heard this. After all, Mary is seventy-nine years old! The pastor said he should ask the doctor. Mary smiled and said: “This wish has come true, and I will die without regrets! I swim every day and know my physical fitness.” Martin held her hand encouragingly. Mary’s wish shocked many people: the doctor performed a physical examination on her body, and Pastor Jiang mobilized everyone to pray for Mary every Wednesday during worship. The director and I went to Sydney Olympic Park several times to check the diving platform and we contacted the ambulance brigade as a precaution. The time was right, the place was right, and Australia’s epidemic situation was eased and the lockdown was lifted in late June, so Mary decided to dive at 11 a.m. on June 28. Because that day was Mary’s eightieth birthday. Mary chose a bright red swimsuit and an orange swimming cap, and major Australian media also came to hear the news. On the way there, Mary asked Martin to sit next to her and said softly to him: “I imagine rehearsing the moment when I dive every night. Today I am sure. If it succeeds, you will speak at my eightieth birthday party.” , if not, you have to speak at my funeral. I think 99% of the time it is the former.” Martin smiled and said: “I agree to your wish.” At eleven o’clock,
  Mary stood on the high platform, imagining sixty years In the scene before him, he jumped gracefully from the diving platform into the water like a flying swallow. The camera recorded the whole wonderful process. I stood on the edge and cheered heartlessly! Martin held a large bouquet of red roses in his hand and presented it to Mary, who came up gracefully from the water: “You did it, Mary!” Tears burst from their eyes, and they hugged and kissed.
  The nursing home celebrated Mary’s 80th birthday. Martin spoke at the party: “I came to Australia because of Julie, and now I decide to live here permanently because of Mary! She turned her dream into reality with perseverance, optimism, and grace. This has also become her best birthday gift. Let us raise a toast: Happy birthday, our heroine! It’s never too late to realize your wishes!”

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