Saturday, April 16, 2011

Life Revisited

“Another day, another death,” Marilyn mused while glancing over the obit section of the newspaper.  At 85 Death seems to always hang around like that guy who talks too loud at parties, an annoyance that can’t be avoided.

She gingerly refolded the newspaper convinced none of the deceased were names she knew.  Her morning coffee sat quickly growing cold, moved to second in line behind her glass of water and the daily pills desperately trying to cure old age.

Thinking once more of death, she continued her morning routine.  Thoughts of eternity played around in her mind.  Although her body crippled with age, her mind was as sharp as it had ever been.

Would she one day wake up to find herself in Heaven?  Would she be filled with the heat of Hell?  Or would her life just end, her body decay and her soul survive in stories told to those still living?

 Never one to accept questions she could not answer the idea death threw her analytical mind in topspin only calmed by therapy and pills.

When her husband died, the depression and topspin just combined into a numbing reality.  One day it may be a college roommate, a high school friend, a work colleague she avoided.  They came, they impacted her life, they left and brought about troubling questions she could not answer without firsthand experience, but then it was too late anyway.

Lately it was Betty who was troubling her.  Seven days ago, minus a few hours, she sat in the second row at her best friend’s funeral.  And on that ironically beautiful day, the pains of growing old hit her with a strength she had yet to completely understand.

She stretched her legs and headed out to receive the mail, completing another portion of her morning routine.  While sifting through the bills and AARP reminders, she noticed a peculiar postcard featuring her favorite place in the world.  When she turned it over the words made her gasp and question life again.

“I’m not dead.  Meet me tonight at Guido’s Pizzeria.  Tell no one.”

It gave instructions, a time and it was signed with Betty’s unique signature.  She had never once seen it duplicated.

The sun hung in the sky preparing to make it’s ascend on the other side of the world when she walked into the crowded pizzeria.  She relayed the information to the hostess and was guided to her seat around wild children who held no respect for the frailty of an 85 year old woman’s body.

Why on Earth would Betty pick such an obnoxious place as this?

Shortly after she settled into her seat, she was approached by a woman she did not recognize.  The woman appeared to be welcoming 30 gracefully.  Her shoulder length brown hair and deep blue eyes reminded Marilyn of her best friend.  It took her back to the days of bearing babies and getting mommy haircuts.
The woman took the seat opposite her.

Marilyn winced and began to tell the woman to move, this seat was taken, when the woman spoke.

“Marilyn, it’s me Betty.”

No, no there was no way Marilyn’s mind could comprehend this one.

And yet the woman spoke on.  She told stories of times they had spent together.  She relayed images of their kids playing together.  She admitted secrets no one else had known.

“I know you have many questions and I can’t answer them all, but I’ll start.  See, there are these scientists working on slowing down aging, and these other ones trying to figure out why we grow old, but the best ones are the ones who have figured out how to reverse time all together.  They can make you any age you want to be.  I picked 31, because I think that is when we really started living.”

Marilyn just stared; disbelief etched as thick as her wrinkles.

“But its ok, Mary, because they have picked you to be next.”

And with that the smiling young woman reached across the table and handed Marilyn a sheet of paper with a name and number on it.  She kissed the older woman on the check and disappeared through the doors without another word.

The fictional story above was inspired by a prompt for Red Writing Hood "One week after attending the funeral of a close friend, you receive a postcard in the mail with the words, 'I'm not dead. Meet me tonight at Guido's Pizzeria. Tell no one.' "  Concrit is always welcome and appreciated.


  1. Wow, that one'll make you think :)

  2. You have such wonderful imagery packed into this piece.

    "Never one to accept questions she could not answer the idea death threw her analytical mind in topspin only calmed by therapy and pills." It's not really clear here what you are saying because I think there are a couple of words missing.

    "Marilyn just stared; disbelief etched as thick as her wrinkles." LOVE This line. I think it is the most vivid description in your piece and there are a LOT of vivid descriptions to choose from. You put words together so easily. The story flows well from start to finish.

    I'm so glad you linked up with this story!


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