After Jim died I was in a cold, gray fog. The kids were all there with me for the funeral but it is the part that comes after that is the hardest. I moved around dazed feeling like I was walking through Jello. What used to be inconsequential little things, those things I took for granted, would bring back memories to stab at my heart. The absence of the weight of his body on the other side of the bed. The way he would throw his arm over me in the middle of the night. All the million little details he attended to that made my life easier. Each time I confronted something on my own it was a painful reminder that he was gone. I did have a small financial cushion but it would not maintain me in the house. I would have to sell our home and figure out where would be the best place to land next. I did not want my kids to be burdened with a helpless old woman. Is that what I am, a helpless old woman? I was a young woman once who might have been considered a bit radical. What happened to that independent girl who believed in Women’s Liberation? Can I bring her back again? I was scrolling through my Email when I noticed a message from Road Scholar announcing a trip to London to visit all the places that are associated with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his excellent detective Sherlock Holmes. I had been a great lover of English mysteries and Sherlock Holmes. I always thought it would be wonderful to see 221B Baker Street. Jim and I had wanted to travel but life doesn’t always give you exactly what you want. I signed up for the trip. I could not believe it was really happening when my plane lifted off from LAX. I ordered a glass of wine and stuffed my IPod ear buds in to relax to the sounds of La Boheme, one of my favorite Puccini operas. I must have fallen into a deep sleep because before I knew it the plane was touching down at Heathrow.
Our tour group met in the hotel lobby later that morning. Our guide was an energetic young man who quickly herded us aboard our coach. As I took my seat on the tour bus I doubted myself for a moment, my critical voice chattering in my ear, You’re an old fool. What ever made you think it was a good idea to squander money on a trip like this! I pulled out my itinerary to check what was scheduled for the day. That was when I heard someone asking me, Is this your first trip to London? I turned to look in the direction of the voice and saw an older gentleman sitting next to me. His gentle brown eyes held my gaze.
This is my Flash Fiction contribution to the WEP Valentine Challenge, click on the link if you want to know more about it. Featured Image of Sherlock Holmes Museum by Anders Thirsgaard on Flickr.
Approx. 475 words
Critique Preference: General
For those in the US, if you would like to do more to help Seniors combat hunger click on the link below to the AARPfoundation.org
During February, AARP will highlight 29 Days of Action – simple things individuals can do to help combat hunger and food insecurity.
Source: 29 Ways to Combat Senior Hunger