Sally Morrison shifted her weight to the right, steadied her hand upon the cumbersome wooden cane and warily lifted her frail body from the over-stuffed beige recliner, letting out an unconscious mandatory groan of willfulness. Once upright, her hand fleeted to wipe a stray, graying strand of hair from her left eye as she proceeded, systematically, toward the entranceway door. Careful to keep her balance, she turned the door handle to the right and exited onto the front porch.
The smell of freshly dewed grass, fragrant hollyhocks and daffodils filled her senses while the ever-chirping bluebirds brought melody to the morning’s silence. She hesitated before venturing to the white wicker love seat, to take in the glory of the moment. She knew a person could not recapture the initial experience of seconds in time when you had to let it all in and later reflect upon the pleasant memory.
Sally managed to plop herself into the confines of the damp, yellow-flowered seat cushions without teetering and falling. This in itself was a mastered maneuver. With the beauty of the dawn, came the realization she was lonely, in fact downright sorrowful for the lack of any human interaction or companionship. She hadn’t given much thought to growing older; always-believed Arnie would be at her side, holding her hand, tending to her when the body gave way to the ailments of age. Too soon he fell victim to cardiac failure.
Oh how she envied those grandmas who doted over their grandchildren, telling stories of the deep bond and love they had developed. Childless, she had no such tales to relate, nor any deep friendships to carry her forward to another day. Sally wondered what purpose she held now. What difference would it make if she disappeared from the face of the earth? After all, who would miss her or even care that some old woman was gone.
Tears welled from her eyes. Stupid, stupid, stupid, she thought, me crying and feeling sorry for myself when for so long I have been the strong one. She hated what she had become. Once a lovely, charitable, compassionate and active woman, it had all come down to this facade of life. Sally closed her eyes, lost in the memories of yesterday, a time when she touched peoples’ lives and they touched hers.
Michael stood at his window, peering across the street at the figure who sat on a settee upon her porch. It had become his routine to check in on Sally Morrison, though he never ventured for a visit nor let on that he viewed her activities. He felt as if he were a Peeping Tom, at times yet could not cease his curiosity.
Today was May Day that brought with it a mood of renewal and bright beginnings. Yet he wondered how bright Sally’s life was after the passing of her husband Arnie some four months ago. What the hell could he do, after all, they were not friends or even formal acquaintances for that matter. With one last look across the street, he backed away allowing the curtain to swing into its intended placement behind the window.
Sally hated the evenings the worse. The dusk would be setting in soon, replaced by darkness, blackness that brought the full reality of her existence. She heard a doorbell ring, once, twice then a third time. It certainly sounded like her bell, but who in the world would be calling on her? Though a bit apprehensive, she slowly rose to her feet, walked to the entrance, pulled the door slightly ajar and peered outside. She glanced left to right, saw no one and then noticed at the foot of the door lay a small gold and crimson box with a small envelope attached. With much effort and pain, she crouched down and picked it up, closed the door and hurried as fast as her body would allow to the kitchen. Placing it on the table, she set herself down into the accompanying chair, stared at this small token, mystified and delighted, yet a bit hesitant to reveal the contents. “You old fool”, she thought to herself. “What could it hurt to open it, hell, worse that could happen is it would explode and then you’d have no worries.” Sally carefully pulled the ribbon and removed the golden and crimson wrapping to reveal a black embossed box. She opened it and gasped. It was stunning; a white and gold-ridged rose pin with a glistening pearl embedded in its center with the most delicate, two-toned light and dark green leaf protruding from the left side.
Sally pondered, who in God’s name would have sent this to her. But wait; there was that small envelope. She had forgotten, for with age comes loss of memory. It took a moment to open the envelope; the fingers just didn’t work as well anymore. She read the words and when finished, she wept tears of joy and delight.
Seventy-two words would change her life…
This small gift cannot express our gratitude. Helen and I shall never forget your unselfish acts of kindness, love and care. You gave my little Gretchen such comfort as she battled brain cancer. It’s been fifteen years since her passing. So deep in remorse, we never took the time to thank you. Please come over for dinner tomorrow. Time all of us began to celebrate life. All our love, Michael & Helen Lawrence
Monica M Brinkman believes in ‘giving it forward’; reflected by her writing and radio show. A firm believer open communication is the most powerful tool to make positive change in the world; she expresses this in her book, The Turn of the Karmic Wheel and It Matters Radio. Monica resides in the Midwest with her husband, two dogs and five cats.
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