The lock snicked as I bent over to retrieve the broken bag of flour that had fallen through the wet paper bag. A tug against my waist and I knew the day had gone from bad to ludicrous. My skirt, now wedged tightly between the locked car door held me captive. Turning I could see my keys, still dangling from the ignition. Leaving the flour on the parking garage floor, I took off my skirt and donned the broken paper bag. Mrs. Whipson had my spare key so I braved the walk to her apartment. She wasn’t home… Mondays suck.
The elevator doors opened and the two passengers looked up, horrified. I stepped in and they scurried out. The taller one choked an apology as the doors closed. I heard peals of laughter shrieking as the elevator continued its descent.
And then… the odor assaulted me. To my mortification, the elevator doors opened and my boss entered as I left.
A few of my authorly friends and I are planning on putting out a romance anthology for Valentine’s Day. I am SO using this as my opening scene….
Her hips were no longer her own, instead replaced for the third time, with the latest and greatest alloy that would last her entire life. Now. At eighty four, it was guaranteed she wouldn’t need another surgery. At eighty four, most of her parts were enhanced with technology, or sagging, or ached. She looked over the crowd that had gathered, trying to recall why she was having mass on a golf course.
Music played and she turned and saw her two grandsons walk towards her, dressed in tuxedoes and she remembered, if just for a moment, that today was her grandson’s wedding. Her daughter came next and she saw all of her children, and their children, and their children seated behind her.
It was a sight, ages from six months to sixty, forty people in all. Together, probably for the last time as an entire family. Siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles all together to celebrate a new addition to their family.
Her husband gently assisted her to stand as the bride walked toward them now. He leaned down and squeezed her shoulder gently, tears in his eyes. “Mom, look what we did.”
Her mind might not be strong, her body broken, but her spirit and memories will live on with her family they created.
My husband of twenty six years brought our children in to my hospital room, beaming proudly and making my heart swell and my anxiety ease.
“Whaddya think, doc?” He asked a little too loudly, intoxicated on the moment. We were too old to be parents of the newborn twins who slept in the basinet beside my bed. For the moment they were peaceful, but it was just a moment. Eighteen more years in our house. No downsizing for now. Hell, we may even need to purchase a new swing set. A “new” parent, again, just when Gabe and I thought we were close to having an empty nest. I would cry, but I was happy too. I had forgotten how much you could love someone so deeply, so quickly. Gabe’s excitement added to my own and made me fall even more in love with him.
The kids rolled their eyes at my emotional swing, Jer needled his sister’s ribs and whispering loudly, “She’s high.”
Gabe leaned down to kiss my forehead and raised up to his full height, well, his full height now. When we met he was six foot two, now he was at least an inch shorter. He growled, “Jeremy, your mother is not high, she’s happy. Unlike our weaker sex, she’s stronger and has a higher pain threshold.” He turned his happy eyes back to me and kissed my forehead again before whispering quietly, “But I can totally hook you up with pain killers the minute you want one, love.”
Love, his endearment for me for over three decades… It still made me mushy.
The doctor cleared her throat and Gabe stood up, smiling stupidly. Doctor Hughes was a petite woman and she smiled up at my husband. It was hard not to be infected by his genial mood and affability on a normal day, but today he was completely irresistible.
She finally spoke, “I was just telling your wife that everything went well and I’ll see her again in two weeks.”
Gabe took her hand and shook it energetically, finally releasing it after the whites of her eyes showed. She nodded to the kids and made her way out.
“Mom?” Caitlin leaned over the basinet that held her new siblings, “They’re beautiful, what did you name them?”
Gabe spoke up, “Sam and Max.” He came over to the bed and snuggled in next to me, still wearing a stupid grin. We had been discussing names for months now, never able to have a serious discussion. The conversation would quickly dissolve into a fit of hysterics over the thought of us in our sixties and chaperoning middle school dances. Or worse, sitting on those damn football bleachers with a new hip.
Jer looked skeptical, “Seriously? Two dude names?”
Caitlin snorted, “No, not seriously. Mom?”
“Maxine and Samuel.” I said, enjoying the color rising on Caitlin’s cheeks. Gabe’s teasing smile broadened and he winked at me.
Gabe clucked, “I thought we’d agreed to Maxwell and Samantha.”
Jer groaned, “Seriously, you’ll have to tell us eventually.”
“Junior.” We said simultaneously and laughed together his arm gently wrapping around me.
“Fine,” Caitlin said disgustedly. “You’ll have to tell us eventually.” She smirked, “We got you a little something…”
She handed over a gift bag and Gabe pulled the tissue paper out. He unrolled a t-shirt that said, “Not the Grampa, #MenopauseFail” in bright green letters.
He chuckled, “Cute kids, really nice.”
Jeremy grinned, “Hey, we’re just proud that you can still get the little man to work.”
“Ohmigod, you did not just say that!” I snorted. “Not only is it not a little man but I had to get my tubes tied.”
Caitlin held her ears, “Ohmigod, nooooooo.” She looked at her father, “Why can’t you guys be like normal old married couples and you know… watch television?”
Gabe raised an eyebrow, “Did our daughter just recommend porn?” He leaned down and kissed me soundly, leaving me breathless.
“Oh God, you two are disgusting.” Caitlin muttered but Jer chuckled.
“I think it’s nice. I hope I can find that kind of love.”
Cailtin grunted, “I’m so getting my tubes tied early though…”
Live and learn, I thought, happily staring into Gabe’s eyes. The man I adored and had given me thirty years of happiness and better damn well be up for giving me thirty more.
NEED MORE “HOT, MATURE MEN” (here’s a tip, don’t google images “hot, mature men” my eyes are still drying from the bleach) check out AARP’s list of sexiest men over fifty… Yum.
The day is warm and yet she dressed for winter. For three consecutive days I’ve watched her push an empty, bulky stroller up the hill. Her limp gets more pronounced just before the crest.
An empty stroller. A child lost, perhaps? She walks with purpose, not the anxious steps of a frantic mother.
My curiosity overwhelms me and I call out, “May I help you?”
She turns and her smile warms me from the inside out. This is a woman who is happy with herself and I am jealous.
“No, thank you.” She tilts her head and courteously nods, dismissing me.
My lips twitch in an attempt to smile, a foreign expression on my face. She is a puzzle I wish to solve.