Anna’s heart pumped, paused, and when it beat again her children were all grown. She moved into a smaller apartment and watched stray cats forage for food scraps. She worked on her needlepoint and tried to find ways to keep herself occupied.
People moved in, they moved out; neighbors borrowed dishes, and now that Anna had extra money, she could lend spare bowls without worrying they would never return. She bought a new bedroom suite set; it was pure white with gold trim and fancy brass fittings. Every time someone came to visit, perhaps once a week, and usually Dorothy, Anna went on about that set.
“You have to see my new furniture.”
Dorothy would nod and exclaim how beautiful the headboard looked.
It was all very exciting.
One afternoon, Dorothy brought a visitor. Because Anna didn’t sleep in her new bed–she might ruin it–she knew the bedroom was perfectly immaculate.
“You should see my new bedroom set. It’s absolutely beautiful.” Anna offered the gentleman a tea cup and awaited his response.
Dorothy spoke for the man instead. “It really is.”
The gentleman stared. He accepted the cup but said nothing.
Anna tried again. “It’s the most beautiful furniture I’ve ever seen.”
This time, Dorothy spoke to the man. “Mama is very proud of it.”
Anna might have just been an old woman, but she wasn’t stupid. She poured Dorothy’s visitor a full cup of steaming tea–too much to allow for milk–and shut up.
The visit didn’t continue quite so well. They spoke of everyday things, normal things, things that went on outside, in the normal life that Anna wasn’t part of anymore. They spoke of a new home where she would be comfortable—with people she didn’t know but would enjoy spending time with.
When her visitors left, she sat on her couch. She took up her needlepoint but couldn’t sew a stitch. It seemed she had no focus. No purpose.
Her heart pumped, it paused. But she never regained her focus.
Check out more of Thea Atkinson’s writing tomorrow, April 2, at Linda Prather’s blog!