“Get down from there right this second, you human headache!”

“You can’t talk to me like that. I’m your patient.” He grins, thick black glasses sliding down his nose.

“You’re also in a tree. Please, Mr. Peterson, I insist. You must come down!” I would stamp my foot, if it wouldn’t make me as childish as him.

“But Doc, it’s so nice up here.” He closes his eyes and breathes. “It’s breathtaking.”

“My view down here is breathtaking too. Can I remind you that you’re not wearing underwear?”

Indeed, a sliver of pale white skin pokes from underneath his blue gown. If I took two more steps forward, I’m sure I’d owe him money for the view he was giving Cedar Ave.

“It’s breezy. I feel free. Unrestricted.”

“You need to be restricted. It’s dangerous! How’d you even get up there?”

He smiles, sunlight bouncing off his thinning

scalp, whisps of white hair sticking out straight like a birds nest. The image of an aging, bespectacled bald eagle flies into my mind and I can’t get rid of it.

“Mr. Peterson, you’re breaking policy and protocol and putting yourself in danger. If you don’t come down, I’ll have to call an orderly.”

“Call him.” He reaches for another branch. “I’m feeling quite disorderly today.” He steps out on the branch, surprising limber for an 78 year old dementia patient. Like so much else, he seems to have forgotten his limits.

I, on the other hand, have reached the end of mine. I move closer, view and all, just in case. I don’t need him falling on my head, but I also don’t need him breaking his hip.

“Mr. Peterson, for the last time, come down!”

“Doc, take it from me. Life’s too short. You should come up. The weather’s fine.”

(Continues into chapter 1 meet cute with handsome guy from past)

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