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Mrs. Carson MAG
Visiting hours were nowover. The frail old woman was rocking diligently in her chair as she hadbeen since early morning. They said they were going to visit today. Theypromised her this time. She gazed out the window from time to time whenshe thought she heard the sound of a car, but mostly she just stared andstroked a picture she was gripping firmly in her right hand.
Shegot all dressed up as she did whenever they were coming. She put on herbest dress. It was a green polyester dress with one sleeve slightlylonger than the other, but the woman loved it more than anything elsebecause her granddaughter had made it in a home ec class a few yearsago. The silk scarf that her grandmother gave her was tied around herneck. She set her hair special, too, using the combs her husband hadgiven her on their fiftieth wedding anniversary. She did not, however,put on her shoes. Maybe if she didn't put on those shoes she wouldn't bedisappointed.
Her eyes focused once more on the photograph in herhand. It was a picture of her family, of the family she once had. Herson, his wife, and their two daughters and son, all huddled in closely.It was last year's Christmas card. She looked from grandchild tograndchild to grandchild, Amy, Susan, and Billy. She remembered whenthey couldn't wait for a visit with her. She remembered when they filledher home with love and happiness. She remembered them.
Shethought of her son. He looked just like her husband, just like him. Thatwas why she loved to be with him so much. She recalled the last time shesaw him. He seemed well. A little thin, but he seemed well. That was allthat mattered.
The nurse entered the room. "Mrs. Carson," shecalled, "visiting hours are over now."
"They're coming next week.They promised me."
"I'm sure they will," the nurseanswered.
Mrs. Carson got up from her chair. She was stiff fromsitting there all day. She never budged, not once. She had felt surethat they were coming this week. She sat back on her bed, stillclutching the picture.
She asked herself over and over again whathappened to them and what went wrong. She asked herself how she gotthere and where the people were whom she loved so dearly. She knew shewas old. She knew she wasn't as much fun as she used to be. She could nolonger take her grandchildren to all of those places they used to visittogether. She could no longer make it through the day without a nap. Shewas a burden to them. That's all she was.
She glanced over at thenight stand where various medications were lined up. That was it. Thatwas the answer. Pills. A whole bottle of pills. Why hadn't she thoughtof that before? It was so perfect. She would no longer be a burden toher family. They wouldn't have to pay all that money for her to stayhere. All her friends had already passed away. She never did want tobecome old and feeble. And at last she could be with her departedhusband, Arthur.
Before she got a chance to reconsider it, shesnatched the bottle and took all the pills with the last of her gingerale. She lay on the bed waiting. She glanced at the picture. She justwanted them to be happy.
She then closed her eyes. There she was,still all dressed up in her green polyester dress and her best silkscarf and the combs Arthur had given her. She held the picture next toher heart. This time she knew they would come.