A lonely widow offers help to what seems like a sweet and harmless stranger but finds he's much more than he appears to be
Cold, wet, cloth flapped gently in the breeze as Maggie hung up her laundry.
“I don’t know why I still do this” she said aloud to herself. Maggie was seventy-eight now and as long as she had lived in her own home she had always hung her laundry on sunny days. It was September now and almost time for the leaves to turn. As she clipped the last clothes pin she heard her elbow joint crack. Lowering her arm she sighed, everything cracked lately. At least outside she could hear noises besides the cracking, everything was too quiet inside. More and more lately she found herself leaving on the television for companionship. The only friend she had anymore was the stray tabby that started hanging around a few weeks ago, but he only came for the food.
Rubbing her elbow she slowly walked back to the house, knocking over the dish of food that sat by the back door on the way in. “Great, now I’m getting clumsy too.” She could hear the phone ringing and began to walk a little faster. When she and Calvin first moved in the house was perfect for them, now with no one around but her it seemed to be growing and the telephone was farther away than ever.
Walking down the hallway she thought about whom it might be and before she even picked up the receiver, she knew.
“Hello Dear” she said.
“How did you know it was me?”
“It’s always you” she laughed. Since Jack and Jenna left for school her daughter seemed to be filling her empty nest with telephone calls.
“Sorry I’m so predictable.”
“You get it from your father.” Maggie could almost feel the tension on the other end. It had been over a year now and Diane still wasn’t able to talk about him.
“Are you still there?”
“Yeah, sorry, your voice sounds funny Mom are you okay?”
“I’m fine; my chest just feels a little tight.”
“Again, what did the doctor say about it?”
“I didn’t see the doctor.”
“What? You promised.”
“Diane I’m an adult I can take care of myself.” She instantly regretted snapping at her daughter but couldn't help but be fed up with the babying.
“I’m sorry honey; I’ll make an appointment for next week, all right.” The line was quiet for a while and Maggie wondered if she should change the subject.
“I don’t want to lose you too.” Her heart broke at the sound of her voice; she sounded eight years old again.
Diane cleared her throat on the other end, “well I’m going to go throw a load of laundry in, I’ll probably talk to you tomorrow.”
“Okay baby, I love you.”
“I love you too Mom.”
Maggie hung up the phone to the sound of her husband’s voice in her head I don’t like this Mags, I don’t like our little girl living so far away...... (click for my entire short story)