Shelia was facing the winter of her life. In her early 60’s, she had seen much of the world—Germany, Austria and many parts of the US. Alone now, her husband dead of cancer just two years ago, she faced the winter of 2006 with dread and anxiety. With no husband to help shield her from the reclusiveness of winter and its challenges, she looked ahead to those long, cold months and shivered deep inside.
Where did the time go, she thought. Why it just seemed like yesterday when she and Ray, were young, married and excited with life’s offerings. What happened? Where did it all go? Why did it have to go so fast? Growing old was no picnic, she thought. Oh, how she longed to be at least 10-15 years younger….
With no children to console her, most of her family dead and gone, she pondered what would she do with the rest of her life. She did have her writing and of course, her trusted and loving collie, Lady. Lady was such a comfort, always there and such a calming presence. But, she was just a dog…not a real human being.
Living in a small apartment helped because there weren’t many responsibilities or challenged to meet. And, having that small car of hers parked outside the apartment building was another comfort; one her husband bought her on her birthday, not long before he died.
“My, how slow February goes!” she thought. And, how depressing that her husband wouldn’t be here in their cozy apartment on Valentine’s Day. They always did something special on that day…The aloneness began to fall upon her again. Sometimes it felt like a blanket being put upon her; first her feet, then legs and then her upper body. She felt so alone, so sad.
Not more than five minutes later, her phone range. “Who could that be? she thought. It’s only nine in the morning; must be a wrong number.”
She picked up the phone and with trepidation asked, “Hello?”
Someone on the other line answered, “Hello, is this….?”
“Yes, this is she. Who’s calling, please?”
“This is Michael Poundstone. Do you remember me?”
She gasped, tried to contain her feelings and answered, “ Michael? The boy I dated from Lincoln Senior High School?” Her mind was a maze of memories—strolling hand in hand with Michael on warm summer days and cool fall nights. Such passion they had for each other,
“That’s the one! I just heard about you and where you lived from George at work and he gave me your phone number. I didn’t know that you lived so close to where I am. I just had to call you and see how you’re doing..So, how are you?”
“I’m fine but I’m stunned to hear from you. It’s been over forty years and we didn’t end well, if you remember?” Indeed, they didn’t end well. He chose another girl, the last six months of senior high and she was left with a broken heart that took a year to heal. He gave her no explanations, just left her….It was not an easy thing to forgive.
Then he asked the question she feared but yet longed to hear….”Can I see you sometime? Would love to talk with you. Been such a long time….I know I did you wrong and there’s no excuse, except to say that Linda pushed all the right buttons and well,…my hormones just went nuts…But you know what? Our marriage last only five years and I’m still healing…”
She paused for what felt like a lifetime and then replied in her old high school, sarcastic way….”Well, let me check my calendar….I do have some space next Thursday…”
Laughing out loud, he replied…”Why shucks, ma’am, I do believe I can do that!”
What followed in the ensuing months was the continuing love affair of Shelia and Michael. Only this time there was a promise of a happy ending, or so they thought. Isn’t it good to know that Shelia and Michael, like all of us, can’t see the future?
Unbeknownst to them both, inside Shelia, a cancer was steadily growing….But those three years would be the happiest of their lives!
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