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The Beginning of A Love Story
I sit on my couch reading my book. I’m dozing off into a sleep and I’m not exactly focusing on the words that I’m reading. I know I’ll probably have to reread it when I awake, but at this point, I don’t care. I’m drifting off into a better world, and the softness I feel from the cushion of my sofa proves that I don’t want it to stop. I want to keep sinking in to this wonderful feeling.
To be straight forward with you, I’m old. I’ve had five children, and all of them have moved out. My husband died two years ago, so I live alone in my house. I’ve been lonely for a while. There’s nobody to talk to. I’m allergic to all kinds of animals, so it just seems depressing around here, to say the least.
My eldest, Elliot, usually comes around this time of day. He brings me my supper, which I am too weak to actually make myself. It does trouble me that I am getting too frail to lift up the pots and pans in my kitchen, but I ignore that fact when I can. I tell myself that I’m as healthy as a horse, as my doctor says I am. He tells me that for my age I am pretty much as strong as I can be.
I hear a knock at my door. I set my book down carefully on the coffee table and lift myself up as well as I can. I slide my feet over to the door and touch the cool metal to open that wretched wooden thing that I must get replaced someday. Standing in the doorway is my own flesh-and-blood, Elliot. He’s smiling, and the pink in his cheeks shows me he was outside all day today in the heat. I always wonder how young people stand that sun. It always burns my thin skin to a crisp.
“Mother.” He smiled and let’s himself in to give me a quick kiss on the cheek. He’s carrying a large tub filled with my dinner. I try to see what it is, but he walks by too fast for me to study the container.
“Hello, Elliot. How are the boys?” I ask about my grandchildren, Ronnie and Parker. I’ll tell you; those are the most well behaved boys I’ve ever seen. Whenever they take a trip up to their grandmothers, I could never ask for better children. Parker is the oldest, he’s graduating middle school next year, and he’s turning into a fine teenager. He’s handsome, just like his father, and smart. Ronnie is in the fourth grade, I believe. He has the most adorable smile like his mother, Anna.
“They are great. Thanks for asking. They wanted to come up today, but they had tons of homework they had to get done.” My boy shrugged in his casual Sunday wear. I was upset to hear this news. I always love to get my grandchildren to visit me.
“That’s too bad.” I frown. I look at the container that Elliot has set down on my plate. It’s clear on the bottom, but I can’t see from the angle. I lift up the lid. There’s lasagna inside. Anna’s lasagna, I hope. I love her cooking, and her lasagna is the best.
“I hope you enjoy it. Anna really worked hard to make it for you tonight. We had leftovers, but she refused to give you something that wasn’t fresh.” He smiles. Elliot seems to smile all the time when he talks about his wife. She’s a nice lady, believe me. I would have picked her for every one of my three boys if I could. Elliot just loves her a little more than the average man loves his wife. If she ever dies or decided to leave him, he would be heartbroken. I fear for that day for every one of my children.
“Well, tell her I said thank you.” I shuffle my way into the kitchen. It’s getting harder to lift the plates down. Elliot notices my struggle and runs in to help me. I shoo him away and bring the silverware and plates out myself. I then take the lasagna out of the tub and place half of it down. I know I won’t eat all of it. My appetite isn’t what it used to be.
“Would you like some?” I ask to my son who sits on my couch watching the television set that is never used. He shakes his head to me and continues to watch his program.
The lasagna doesn’t taste like what it used to taste like. It makes me sad to think that Anna hasn’t made me the proper meal. I keep trying to imagine what the good tasted like, but I can’t remember. All I get is the bland taste from the pasta, and the tart from the cheese. It doesn’t melt together. It’s all separate, and it makes me frown.
I get up after I’ve forcibly eaten half of what’s on my plate and shove the rest of it into the garbage. I get the tub and put that into the refrigerator that I have filled with a dozen of Anna’s other meals that weren’t what they used to be.
I walk over and sit down by my son.
“I talked to Honor the other day,” Elliot speaks about my youngest child, “She say’s she’s doing fine with the baby and with college,” Honor had gotten pregnant just a little too young. It upset me wildly before, but now she has a job and is paying for college just fine along with the expenses of being a mother. I’ve never been more surprised by my child, “She misses you and can’t wait to see you at Christmas.” He says as he places his firm hand on my palm. I smile at him and nod.
“I’m glad she’s doing good.” I say. I press the other hand that he’s not holding to my chest. There’s a little bit of a pain in there. I breath deeply and it starts to go away, so I decide it was only nothing. Elliot notices my second of stress and pays me attention I wave him away to tell him to keep watching his show.
I walk into the kitchen to get water. That pain in my chest was something new. I mean, I don’t remember it happening. Maybe it did before, and I just don’t remember. Who knows? I could ask Elliot, but I doubt he’d remember and I probably wouldn’t tell him if I was having chest pains anyway.
I look into the cabinet for some aspirin. I find some and take it with tap water. I stay in the kitchen and look over the sink. My head feels heavy since I was just taking a nap before Elliot showed up.
“Mom, are you okay?” I hear Elliot call. I can’t focus. The vision of the sink below me becomes blurry, and I feel my feet fall over. I think I hit my head on the counter, but I couldn’t feel it. There was some sort of weightlessness to the falling that I liked so much. It was the nicest feeling I’ve had in years.
“Mom!” Elliot’s voice called to me. I felt the coolness of the tile against my skin. It felt like it was just the cloud that was holding me up. It felt like how it was when I almost fell asleep earlier, but so much better.
I felt his hands shake me, but I could feel the motion that he tried to make me feel. It was nothing. I was already sleeping. It was like I had passed out, but I knew better than that. I couldn’t see what was happening just yet. I only knew that I was still in my kitchen with Elliot trying to save me, but I was flashing in to something else, and I couldn’t understand it perfectly just yet.
After ten minutes of seeing a blurry vision of my son panicking, I saw another man. He was standing in a doorway with white light coming behind it. It looked like I was in a dark room and he was the only living thing next to me. He was tall. He was handsome. He was… familiar.
I walked over to him. I was surprised to see how much strength I had right this moment. The last thing I remembered I had keeled over. I think I just passed out, but I couldn’t be sure. I could just be crazy and having a vision.
“Hello?” I asked the man. He was young and he smiled at me with the most beautiful smile I’ve seen in ages next to Anna. He looked at me with a content expression. I’ve never seen somebody study me like that, except for… him.
“Prudence, I was wondering when you’d join me.” He smiled and held out his hand to me. How did this young man know my name?
“Were you?” I asked. I took his hand and he pulled me into the light. It was all white. There was nothing there. It was like we were in the never ending box of white. It was all I could see. There weren’t necessarily walls; it was just white.
The man still held my hand as we walked through the blank world that I was in at the moment. He glanced at me every few seconds, “You know, you look as beautiful as ever.” He told me. Right then, it hit me. That’s what my husband, Warren, told me right before he died. I was as haggard as anyone could be and he said I looked beautiful, and I know he meant it.
“Warren.” I exclaimed. My tears fell and I tripped right into the arms of my teenage husband. I never knew what had happened to him. He looked exactly like he did when we went on our first date.
“Would you like to see what you look like?” Warren asked while stroking my hair. He was always caught up in the vanity of everything back when he was alive. It made me smile to see him in this vision. He was exactly how I loved him.
I only nodded to see him hold out a mirror to me. I looked at myself. It was the way I dolled myself up for our first date as well. My blonde hair had been styled, and I wore the nicest dress I owned. My makeup was applied beautifully. I can’t remember when I was that young, but I looked extremely beautiful. How wonderful it feels to be youthful again.
I touched the cool glass. That’s when I realized that I was actually touching the glass. Everything I was feeling, the softness of the dress I wore, the warmth of Warren’s hug, and the smooth texture to the mirror. It was all real.
“Warren, where am I?” I realized Warren wasn’t just a figment of my imagination. This was the actual Warren, my husband, in the flesh. He was standing right before me. I hadn’t realized how much I’d missed him, and how much I loved him, until I finally joined him.
“Oh, Prudence,” He laughed. His smiled made my heart skip. I really was a teenager again, “Here is wherever you want it to be. Just say the word.” He smiled and hugged me tight.
He didn’t answer my question, but that’s all I needed to know. When I keeled over, I think it did more then take my thinking process away. I could see my real body right now. I would be sitting in the hospital bed with Elliot standing by waiting for the doctor’s to do all they could. I held back the tears from this thought and wrapped my arms around Warren. If I was with him, I think I would be able to make it through everything.