I intended to post the first vignette the other day and post the second today, but while reading the last post I realized I had already posted the second one with the first. So today I will post “A Hand to Hold”. You can read the first two further down. Thank You for taking the time to read them and comments are always welcome.
The three I have completed are:
1. How’s That Workin’ For Ya?
2. Pink Slip
3. A Hand to Hold
A Hand to Hold
Phyllis watched Roger take out the trash and remembered the first time she saw him standing at the end of the counter bagging groceries for her mother. His thick black hair fell down in front of his face, she watched him as he would absently push it back, and she kept hoping he would look up at her so she could see his eyes. But when he did it was because two high school boys he knew came in the store and hollered hello to him, and that was how she found out his name was Roger. But she still had not seen his eyes.
Phyllis believed that a person’s eyes would tell her everything she needed to know about him, if only he would look at her. After a few weeks of coming in and out of the grocery store, sometimes for no other reason than a pack of chewing gum. But the day came when Roger finally looked right at her and said, hello. And she had been right about a person’s eyes and she always used the way a persons eyes made her feel to decide if that was a person she would talk to or stay away from. And Roger’s brown eyes made her feel warm and safe inside, she knew that the very first time he ever looked at her.
As Roger came back in the house from outside, she saw that he was limping and favored his right side, he had developed arthritis in his knee and hip and she wondered if he had taken his medicine this morning, as he looked up at her with his dark brown eyes and smiled.
“Sure is going to be cold one today Phyllis, we better wrap up before we head out for your doctor’s appointment this morning.” Roger said as he softly patted her bony shoulder and stepped behind her and pulled her wheelchair away from the table where they had finished having breakfast together and wheeled her into the bathroom.
Phyllis reached up and touched her husband’s liver spotted hand,
“Thank you for taking such good care of me all these years.” Phyllis said
“Oh now, let’s not get all teary eyed, you’d do the same for me.” Roger said as he helped her get ready the day and gently combed her thinning gray hair.
“How do I look?” Phyllis asked, looking up at Roger with tear filled eyes,
“Like a million bucks baby.” Roger said and kissed her forehead.
“You are such a bad liar.” Phyllis said, smiling at him.
Phyllis stared lovingly at the top of Roger’s gray head while he knelt before and put her shoes on her and saw the young boy who had showed up at her father’s house to pick her up for their first date. Which consisted of walking down to the deli and having a sandwich together and then they walked together up and down the row of shops, speaking very little to each other but Phyllis knew there was nowhere else she would rather be than walking beside him.
Roger looked up at her as he used the arms of the wheelchair to pull himself up
“Already to go Sunshine?”
“As ready as I’ll ever be.” Phyllis said and smiled back at him.
Roger held the car door firmly so that it would not move as Phyllis used the armrest to pull herself up and into the car. Phyllis watched through her side mirror and watched Roger fold up the bulky wheelchair and then struggled to get it in the trunk of their Buick. And when the trunk closed she saw him as he was on their wedding day as he loaded their old Ford with her suitcases and boxes to move her to their new home. His strong muscles bulging as he lifted her boxes of books and finally exclaimed,
“What do you have in here, bricks?” He had asked her with his beautiful sideways grin.
Books, she had said sheepishly, and then tried to explain that she had tried to get rid of a few so there wouldn’t be so many to move, but could not stand the thought of letting go of them. Over the past forty-five years Roger had moved an ever increasing collection of her books, and never complained once about it.
When Roger climbed into the driver’s seat, Phyllis could hear his labored breathing and saw how tired he was, she wished and even prayed that she would recover from renal failure and would once again be able to take care of him like she had when they first were married. He would come in after working long hours at the machine shop and take in a deep long breath and say,
“Boy it sure smells good in here.” And those words would make her day perfect, as she would tell him about her day and he would listen, than share his with her. This was, she had decided long ago, is what made her life worth living it was those simple moments that she shared with Roger, whether they were at the dinner table or walking along in silence past a row of shops in the evening.
“We are here dear.” Roger said, breaking through Phyllis’ fog of memories and bringing her unwillingly back to reality.
“Did we bring my afghan?” Phyllis asked him.
“I sure did honey, it is in the trunk, I made sure that we didn’t leave it at home like we did last time. I don’t want you to be cold like that again.” Roger said as he got out of the car.
Roger wrapped Phyllis up with the afghan as the nurses finished preparing her for dialysis.
Looking at her husband she thought about the day they had their son Michael and how he had carefully wrapped the tiny pink bundle of a baby and gently walked back and forth in the hospital room. And how twenty years later she saw him draw another blanket over their only child after identifying his body that had been brought back from a war torn country.
Reaching out her hand from under the afghan toward him she said,
“I love you.”
Roger looked up at her and took her hand in his and said,
“I love you more.”