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"Hey, I'm your friend," coaxed Frank. "You can tell me. What gives?" Frank The Friend waited for Charlton's answer.

"Dr. Estrada says I have something called Early Onset Alzheimer's," blurted Charlton, laying it on the line.

"Alzheimer's? You mean that thing old people get? You have it?" asked Frank, stunned by what Charlton had just told him.

"Yes," answered Charlton, waiting to see what his response would be.

"No mistake?"

"No mistake."

"Whew," said Frank, "I'm right behind you, buddy. What are you supposed to do... probably rest a lot, or something?" Charlton could sense that Frank was feeling extremely uncomfortable and awkward in his presence.

"Something like that," mumbled Charlton. Before Charlton very eyes, Frank The Friend was slowly becoming Frank The Boss.

"Why don't you take tomorrow off," suggested Frank, "you know... to get better. You'll feel like new with a little rest. In fact, take as much time as you need. You really deserve it... I mean you're overdue for a vacation anyway." Frank cleared his voice. He knew his voice sounded guilty. To change the subject, he began to talk. He talked about anything, just as long as it wasn't related to the visit to the doctor's office. "I remember once, I really overdid it, and I was feeling miserable, I mean miserable..." and so Frank continued to talk all the way back, as if nothing had happened.

"Laugh, and the world laughs with you; cry, and you cry alone," thought Charlton, gloomily.

"My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me... my friends stand aloof from my sore."
~ Psalm 38:10, 11 ~

"Which now of these... thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him? He that showed mercy on him."
~ Luke 10:36, 37 ~

end of chapter
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