Friday Fiction - "Mary Dear"



Karlene Jacobson, of Homespun Expressions has given me the honor of hosting Friday Fiction this week. Have fun following the links at the bottom of my page to read some great stories. Don't forget to leave some encouraging comments.

Here's my tribute to true love for Valentine's Day...



MARY DEAR

A teakettle whistles softly on the kitchen woodstove. A man pours the steaming water, stirring in milk and sugar. He sets the two rattling teacups on the red checked tablecloth and chooses a pill bottle from the lineup against the wall. The mantle clock announces seven o’clock.

“Time for your pill, Mary Dear.” He helps her sit straighter in her wheelchair and adjusts a pillow behind her left shoulder. “I hope the tea isn’t too hot.”

With a towel under her chin and a teacup in his gnarled fingers, he slowly, gently gives her a sip and wipes the corner of her mouth. The clock ticks away the minutes as he takes a sip from his cup and gives her one.

“The leaves are starting to turn red already. It will be winter soon.”

She twists her neck toward the window. “Un-n-n.”

“The pastor’s wife brought some banana bread. She’s such a thoughtful woman. Would you like some with your tea?”

“Un-o-oh” Mary jerks her head and knocks the cup from his hand, sending it shattering across the linoleum floor. “O-o-oh!”

“Don’t worry about that. It was almost empty anyway.” He fetches the straw broom and sweeps the broken pieces into the dustpan. After washing his own teacup in the big enamel sink, drying it, and putting it away; he hobbles to the back door to let the cat out and puts another piece of wood in the stove.

“Are you warm enough, Mary Dear?”

“Unh-oo” She looks toward the living room and swings her arm wildly.

“What? Do you want to listen to the radio?” He pushes her chair across the braided rug and pulls the light chain, giving the room a golden glow. He wipes a dribble on her chin and straightens her up again.

“Unh-oo” Mary focuses on the bookshelf.

“Oh, you want to look at the photo album?”

Side by side, they peer at faces of long ago – mothers and brothers already passed on. They remember the old farm house and pudgy babies. They puzzle over all the faces in the wedding poses and try to remember the names of all the grandchildren and their babies. The mantel clock chimes eight times.

“Time for bed, Mary Dear.”

Sounds of splashing water, thumps, grunts, and rustling cloth are heard beyond the bathroom door. At last they emerge. Mary is wearing a white flannel nightie and pink fluffy slippers. A waft of liniment and talcum follows them down the hallway to the bedroom.

Facing the tall vanity mirror, he straightens her back, adjusts the pillows, and wipes her chin again. With slow gentle strokes, he lovingly brushes her soft gray curls. She closes her eyes; the hint of a smile shows on one side of her lips.

Carefully, he lifts her small frame onto the cotton sheets and tucks her in. He brushes the droplets from his balding head with his shirtsleeve and readies the house for the night.

Finally, with a sigh, he lies down beside her and turns to see her clouded blue eyes watching him.

“Unh –uv-oo.”

He kisses her forehead and whispers, “I love you too,
Mary Dear, and I always will.”






Would you like to join us? Post a story on your webpage and leave the link here. The more stories we have, the more fun we have reading them!

9 comments:

Hoomi said...

Very nice. I've been humbled to witness this kind of love before, and it really is beautiful.

I don't see MckLinky, so are we leaving our links in the comments? If so, then here's mine:

http://podtalesandponderings.blogspot.com/2010/02/friday-fiction-for-february-12-2010.html

Joanne Sher said...

Vonnie - you put an OLD MckLinky this time - need to put up one that hasn't expired.

My link is http://joannesher.blogspot.com/2010/02/handmaiden-to-princess-rough-draft.html

Yvonne said...

It's all fixed! You can post your blog on Mr. Linky now.

Stina Rose said...

Okay...I'm crying. This was wonderful!

Sherri Ward said...

Very touching, made me cry!

Lynn Squire said...

Oh wow. You're such a good writer. I always enjoy your stories. This one was so visual for me.

Catrina Bradley... said...

I just love this sweet sweet love story. So heartwarming.

Sharlyn Guthrie said...

Such a sweet story. The one I posted last week was similar. This is true love, as opposed to the images of love we get on TV!

Sara Harricharan @ Fiction Fusion said...

I think I've read this one before. It's just as lovely as the picture above. Beautiful!

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