Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Contest · #1199345
All stories, lives, have a final chapter. Harold and Janet are no exception.
|Harold eyed his wife, Janet, over his coffee cup. For seven years they had shared breakfast over this table; for nearly sixty, they shared their lives. They raised three sons and a daughter. Two were laid to rest, one as a child, one last summer. Days dragged on; but, the years flew past.|
"Jannie, more Cheerios?"
"Just a cup of Joe, Hon."
"Janet?" Harold asked in disbelief, "Do you know who I am?"
"Yes . . . you old dog."
Harold nearly tripped over his cane rounding the table, his coffee still in hand. He pulled up a chair beside her, taking her face gently in his hands, afraid she'd be gone.
"Honey, are you still here?"
"I . . . I've been away, haven't I?"
Harold nodded. Grief and joy knotted his tongue, tears drowned his thoughts. Moments passed in anguished silence.
"You're here, now. That's all that matters."
"How . . . how long have I been gone?"
"Three years . . . " Harold bowed his head and took her hands gently in his own, "give or take."
"And you're still here, Harold. You're still here everyday aren't you?"
Their eyes locked, Harold spoke. "Until my last, My Love."
He filled her in on what he could. Mary's wedding, David's divorce. June's first words and Micheal's last. Christmases and lazy Sundays. World events and daily dreams. She filled the room with laughter, and his heart with hope. Side by side they sat on the couch. Two fresh stories in two worn out covers, clutching hands and memories until sleep overtook.
Harold carefully shook her. "Honey, it's time for your pills."
"No! They're yuuucky! Give them to Molly." Janet looked around the room with fearful eyes. "Where's Molly?"
Harold squeezed back his tears and left the room. He returned carrying an old rag doll and handed it to Jannie, who hugged it close.
"Thanks, Mister Jones. Can you take me and Molly to see Daddy today?"
"We'll see . . . "
Janet never returned from her dementia. Harold never left her side.