Opening the door to the room using the key given me, I was surprised to see a rocking chair in one corner, and it was moving slowly, as though blown by a gentle wind. Then I looked at the window and saw it was partly open, apparently to let air in and keep the room from getting musty.
Walking around the room, I looked at each item of furniture, trying to remember if I had ever seen it downstairs. I remembered the clock that was sitting on the bureau in the room. It had graced the mantel downstairs in the living room. I did remember the rocking chair; I had even once sat in it, eating a cookie from a little plate.
There on the wall was a very old picture of a young woman. Looking at it closely, I could see the resemblance to old Mrs. Grogan. She was in a party dress and sitting in a swing underneath an oak tree. She was quite beautiful and it made me think about her life and wonder how she got to be all alone at the end.
Walking over to the bed, I set my small case on it, and removed the toiletries, and placed them on the bureau top, along side the clock. I unpacked the rest of the contents which consisted of a couple of changes of clothing. I hadn't intended to stay in one place very long. I might have to buy a few clothes. Most of my civilian clothes didn't fit very well any more, because I had filled out so much while in service.
Removing my shoes, I stretched out on the bed and before I knew it, I had drifted off to sleep. The nightmares returned, and I must have been shouting in my sleep, because I soon became aware of a little hand on my shoulder shaking me.
"Mister, mister! Are you okay? You're crying! Is your stomach hurting? Mine hurts me sometimes..."
Slowly I realized that little Katy had come into my room. She must have heard me shouting in my sleep. Looking around, I saw where I was and said, "Oh, no. I'm not hurting. I'm sorry I disturbed you. I have bad dreams sometimes."
"Would you like to tell me about them? I have bad dreams sometimes, too. I tell them to Mommy and then they all go away."
"No, no. Not these dreams. I'll be okay. Thank you very much, though. I need to get up anyway. I have someone to see this evening, and I don't want to be late."
By this time, Katy's mother was in the doorway. "Katy, I've told you not to bother the tenants. What are you doing in here? I'm sorry, Mr. O'Hanlon, she won't bother you again."
"He has bad dreams, too, Mommy! He was crying in his sleep and I waked him up."
"That's okay, ma'am. I appreciate her help. I'll lock my door from now on so she won't get into trouble."
(To be continued)