Nope, this post is not about my actual shorts, it's about my short stories.
Enjoy a short from my upcoming short story collection,
Rainbows and Dark Clouds
I love to tell stories. Some of my short stories are funny about everyday life, other stories are not so funny and talk about human vulnerability, suffering, weakness and courage.
My neighbor, Bob, moved to a nursing home shortly after he lost his beloved wife. At 92, paralyzed from the waist down, he was unable to live alone.
I always enjoyed Bob’s company, so I visited him often. On one occasion when I was walking to his room, I saw an old woman sitting in the chair by the wall across from Bob’s room.
She looked up at me and said with a serious look on her face, “Your pocket is blinking.”
Her stoic statement surprised me and then I thought, the poor dear probably has dementia. I smiled at her; she smiled back, and then she looked at the beautiful orange cat curled up on her lap, purring. The lady gently stroked the back of the cat and started humming.
I turned toward Bob’s room with heavy heart thinking, it’s not fair. Life plays a cruel joke on us by the time we get old. When we should be enjoying the golden years, if we’re lucky to live that long get there, most likely we’ll lose most of our abilities to enjoy it with.
I forced a cheerful smile on my face, knocked on Bob’s door.
“Come on in!” I heard Bob’s raspy voice.
I opened the door, walked in and took my sweater off. Bob invited me to sit in his pink, velvet covered armchair that was his wife’s favorite. I poured the cappuccino into delicate porcelain cups from my thermos and put the brownies I had baked for him, onto cookie plates.
We talked for a while about books he read recently and music we both enjoyed. At 92 he remembered the past more vividly than what he had for breakfast that day, so as usual, he entertained me with stories of his childhood and his memorable days as a college professor.
After an hour or so I noticed that Bob was getting tired, so I collected the empty cups and plates and washed them. As I was drying the cups and put them back in his china cabinet, Bob said, “Something is blinking in your pocket.”
I looked over to the chair where I had put my sweater on, and I saw the rhythmically pulsating green light of my cell phone. It shone through the thin material of my sweater.
I said feeling ashamed, “Bob, that lady across the hall told me but I didn’t pay attention. I’m so stupid. I assumed she had dementia just because I didn’t realize what she was talking about.”
“Margaret? Oh, no,” Bob laughed. “Her mind is as sharp as a well-made Katana.”
“I’m so sorry,” I apologized. “I should have known better.”
“Don’t sweat it, kiddo,” Bob replied. “See you next week? Oh, could you bake some of your famous cookies, the ones you make with apricot jam and meringue on top?”
“You bet! I’ll see you next Saturday.”
He flashed a tired smile at me and pressed the call button for the nurse’s aid to help him to bed for his nap.
On my way out I approached Margaret and said to her, ‘You were right! I just realized what you said, and my pocket really was blinking.”
“Took you long enough,” she laughed and winked at me playfully.
inked at me playfully.
Erika M Szabo
Author of magical realism, fantasy and children's books, Publishing Coach at
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