This story is by Wendy Maston and was part of our 2020 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
“You know, George, I wish we’d had children. I wouldn’t be so lonesome. It was your fault. There I finally said it.”
“I know, you said it was better that we didn’t have any children of our own because of my problems. When I had to go to the hospital and you sat by my bed, you were happy there was no one else there. I think I would have liked someone else with you. But that’s why we bought this little house near the hospital. This little house with only one bedroom was all we needed, you said. But I’ve always felt so closed in.”
“When you died, I didn’t know what to do. The nice young man from down the street, what was his name? Oh, it doesn’t matter. He moved away. He’s the one who came to the house to tell me that you had been found on the street. He said you probably had a heart attack.”
“George,” I yelled. “Why did you leave me? I’m so lonesome.”
“Sleeping has been difficult for me. I’ve never been alone since we were married almost fifty years ago. I get up in the middle of the night and sit in our recliner. It’s so comfortable, I’ve slept there every night.”
“My doctor’s office sent me a card in the mail. Abby, she’s so nice, I like her. She’s a nurse and the card said the doctor wanted me to get one of those buttons for when I needed help. I had to push it once a month to be sure it worked. That’s when I got to talk to someone. When they first came by to set it up, they asked me lots of questions. I remember them.”
“They asked, now, who do you want us to call if you need help?”
“I don’t have anybody, I said.”
“What about a neighbor, they asked?”
“The only one I knew has moved away, I told them.”
“What about your minister, they asked?”
“I don’t have a minister. I didn’t go to church. I told them you didn’t want to go, so I stayed home with you, I said.”
“So, you want us to call the rescue squad, they asked?”
“Yes, I told them. That’s what they did for you. I went with you when they came. I had to call a taxi to get home. I don’t have a car or even a license. You said I didn’t need one because you would take me anywhere I wanted to go. Now I can’t go anywhere.”
“What about your doctor, they asked?”
“Well, I guess that would be okay, I told them. At least someone should be at the office, but they are not always there, and you would get the answering service, so that wouldn’t work.”
“Okay, they said. We’ll call 911 for you.”
“Thank you, I said.”
“My groceries came yesterday. That store is so nice.” I said to no one. George got me a computer and taught me how to use it. I did all my shopping on it.
The grocery man knocked on the door and he knew how slow I moved, so he waited.
“Hi, Mrs. Smith. How are you today?”
“I’m feeling okay, a little tired,” I said.
“Where do you want your groceries?” Jimmy askes.
“Please put the cold stuff in the refrigerator. Leave the rest on the table. That way I can reach them.” I gave him a tip and he smiled and left. He’s so nice. I hoped that maybe next time he’d stay longer, and we could talk, but he was always in a rush.
I saw the mail truck coming up the road. It took me so long to get to it, and most of the time the box was empty. There was no one who wrote to me. At least I got some exercise.
There’s a large porch on the front of the house. On nice days I sat there and remembered the good times we had while drinking our iced tea. Now, I sat alone to drink my tea.
I didn’t have much to do in the house. I’d eat a lot of those prepared meals. George signed us up for that service that delivered meals, and they would bring me a noon meal. They used to bring two. The delivery person always came in and talked for a few minutes. It was a good service for people like me.
The insurance man came to the house when his secretary found out George was dead.
“Mrs. Smith, did you know your husband had a policy that gives you enough money to live for the rest of your life?” He asked me.
“No, he took care of all that stuff. I can’t read very well, and numbers confuse me,” I said.
“Then I recommend you get a lawyer. Did George ever mention one?” He asked.
“He did tell me to get ahold of Mr. Clyde somebody. I don’t know his last name.”
“I’ll try and locate him and let him know George passed away.”
“Thank you,” I said.
The insurance man did what he promised, and Mr. Clyde Jorgenson came to the house.
“Hello, Mrs. Smith. How are you?”
“Okay,” I said.
“Mrs. Smith, in George’s will, he asked me to help you make decisions. Are you okay with that? This is a lot of money, and you’ll need help with what you want.”
“I’m glad he did that. But what do I do with all that money? There isn’t anything I need. Except for a friend to talk to. Without George, there is no one.”
“Well, first we need to do a will for you. Without it, the government will take it all,” Mr. Jorgenson said.
“I don’t want that to happen. Who can I give it too?” I was very worried about this.
“There are a lot of very good charities you can leave your money to.”
“I like that,” I said.
“I’ll get a hold of George’s accountant. He’ll help you manage your money.”
“Thank you,” I said.
“Hello, Mrs. Smith. How are you today?” He asked.
“George used to take care of everything. Can you help me with all this money? The insurance man and the lawyer said I had a lot.” I told him.
“Yes, Mrs. Smith. In fact, George left some instructions as to what he thought you should do. He said you wouldn’t what to buy a lot of expensive things. Is that right?”
“Yes, I have everything I need. Except someone to talk to. Can I talk to you when we talk about my money?” I said.
“Yes, just call me anytime. We’ll take care of your bills and any other things you want.”
“I don’t have a telephone. I do everything on my computer now,” I said proudly.
“Then we’ll get you a phone.”
“Thank you,” I said.
I went home. I ate one of my dinners and sat in our recliner and watched TV. I forgot to take my pills. I have so many I get confused. But I don’t want to take them anyway. I’m sleepy and doze.
I woke a little later. It’s dark. But I knew something was wrong. I pushed the button. Someone was talking to me, but I couldn’t answer. I heard her say something about help was on the way. That was nice. I dozed again.
I heard a knock on the door, but I can’t get up and I saw someone looking in the window. I heard a window breaking. They had to, in order to get into my house. What a nice young man. He’s was doing things and talked to me. But I just looked at him. I don’t remember much except I heard the siren and knew when we arrived at the hospital. This was like when George died, but I was on the other side.
At the hospital, all I saw was the ceiling. It rushed by until it stopped. Then people were all around me trying to help. I thought I must be very sick. Can I sleep now? I asked. No one answered. So I did. Then the doctor woke me to tell me I had to stay in the hospital for a while. A nice young lady took me to a room and put me in a bed. The room was pretty and had a large window I looked out. It wasn’t the same as home, but it had a nice view.
The next day a nice lady came to visit me. She asked me about my life at home. I told her. She smiled and asked me if I would like to move to a place where there are lots of people around. I would be taken care of, given meals and anything I needed. Would I like that?
“Yes,” I said. “I wouldn’t be lonesome anymore?”
“No,” she said.
“Yes, I would like that very much,” I said.