“She has really done well for herself, hasn’t she?”
“You mean she has married well, don’t you?”
“No, I mean she has married wealth.” The two laughed with heads bowed toward each other as they enjoyed their collusion.
“You know she has a Gainsborough, don’t you?”
“Yeah, but I don’t care about any artwork. You have to hire a broker and go through all the hassle of selling the stuff, or be pressured into being ‘magnanimous’ and donate it to some museum. The only artwork I want to see is the picture of Presidents on fresh, crisp bills.” the speaker revealed with a Cheshire-cat smile.
“Look, Carry. Here’s your mommy. Oh, Auntie, Carry and I had a wonderful rest last night. Did you sleep well?”
“Yes, dear. I slept just fine. I knew Carry went to be with you. She left my side about one o’clock. I heard her little paws clicking down the hallway to your room. I rested very well after that.” The little dog, black with brownish highlights around the eyes, ears, chest and paws, gently licked the side of the fragile woman’s face as she talked. Auntie breathed with a weary sigh, “Where is everyone this morning?”.
“Oh, they’re downstairs, I think. Just looking around and talking.”
“Yes. Taking inventory and making wish-lists, I’m sure.” Then with a wily smile she confided, “What they don’t know is that I have already made arrangements for my most valuable treasures.” She glanced lovingly at the two who were with her.
“When Carry came into my room last night, she curled right into the curve of my body and stayed there all night. It was so soothing knowing she was there.”
“Yes, dear, I know.”
“You got Carry right after Uncle died, didn’t you, Auntie?”
“Yes. I knew I would need the companionship, so I went to the Humane Society shelter. I fell in love with her right away. I gave her the name ‘Carry’ because I knew she would help to carry the burden of grief and loneliness I was going through. I have often heard the saying that ‘When two hearts, as one, unite, the yoke is easy and the burden light.’ Well, Carry’s and my hearts united on the spot and she has faithfully worn that yoke all this time. I think she will be free of my burden soon now, though, and I’m counting on someone to be there to help Carry with her yoke.”
“Oh, Auntie, that’s so sweet. I can’t wait until I have a friend like Carry to share my burdens.”
“We’d better go up and check on her.”
“Yes. We certainly don’t want to give her any reason to accuse us of neglect. Not when we’ve come this close.”
Arriving at the top of the stairs, they saw the younger niece coming from Auntie’s room.
“How’s she doing?” came the conciliatory question.
Stroking Carry’s head and holding her so that each of their heart’s beats could sustain the other’s, she quietly responded, “Auntie’s yoke has been unfastened.”
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