I kept looking at the clock, but it ticked so slowly I am sure my employer has a special mechanism attached so they can screen more work out of us. At last, it reached 5 o’clock, with a speed no one thought I would be capable of achieving my coat was on and I headed out the door. Friday at last, now two whole days to myself, well not really, because I will have my little dog with me too. Tomorrow we would have to make that visit to the solicitor.
Going home used to be a quick dash. Now I needed to call into the lady look after Mitzi for me. It was a mutually beneficial relationship. I walk and fed Mitzi. But she kept Lizzie company all day. Lizzie lived in a little ground-floor flat and had no relative and, I suspect, and had lived most of her friends.
This is how it all happened. One day as Mitzi and I walked past her window she waved at me, I returned the wave. This went on for some time. Then she stood on her balcony and spoke to me. I realised this old lady needed company. As usual, I did not have much time, so it was just a short exchange. One day, though Lizzie looked anxious, she was battling to breathe.
“Lizzie, you don’t look so good today, is there any I can get for you?”
She gasped, “Can you spare a minute? Please come inside.”
It would be rude to refuse her simple request, so Mitzi and I walked in and rang the doorbell. The door literally flew open as the old lady smiled a welcome, “Thank you so much for taking the time. I know you are busy. I watch you every day coming and going to work.”
It turned out Lizzie was feeling too weak to get the shopping and wondered if I could pop into the local shop and collect a few things. I left Mitzi with her while I hurried out to do her errand.
The two of them got along so well it became the norm for me to leave my beloved dog with the old lady while I did her shopping and that slipped quite naturally into leaving her there all day while I was at work. It suited the dog and the old lady keeping each other company until that terrible day when I called around and Lizzie was not waiting at the door. It was unlocked though. I went in and she was sitting in the lounge. Her lips were blue and she was battling to breathe.
The ambulance came quickly and took her off to the hospital. I visited every day after work, having left Mitzi at home all day. I could not stay long, but I knew the old lady appreciated the visit and the nurses were so kind letting me visit out of visiting hours. I was there to hold her hand on the day she died. I knew Mitzi would not mind that I was so late home. I’m sure she even understood we had lost a friend that day.
Our lives returned to their pre-Lizzie pattern, I left the little dog with her biscuits then hurried home after work to take her out for our evening walk.
The letter from the solicitors sat on the mat all day. The bombshell that would change our lives. Like all legal communications, it seemed to ramble on, but the gist was Lizzie had no living relatives and she had left everything to me. It touched me. It was such a kind thought. The letter continued, requesting me to call into their offices on Saturday.
The address was close to my home, so Mitzi and I knocked on the door and the solicitor himself admitted us into a fusty old place. The ancient, crooked backed gentleman smiled and welcomed us while showing the way into his domain. The walls lined with bookcases while the carpet had an array of files piled up, leaving only a pathway to his desk.
“I’m so pleased you could come, Miss Levine, as you know I represent Miss Shapiro and am also the executor of her estate.”
I nodded, I could see this would take a long time and was probably only for a couple of hundred pounds if that, but I did at least owe it to Lizzie so I sat and watched as he picked up a file from a pile on the floor.
“Ah, here it is, now let me see.”
I switched off and gazed out the window while he read through the dusty words only hearing the last few, “And to Mitzi, I leave my flat.”
I shook my head, “Sorry I missed the bit before Mitzi.”
His kindly face scrunched into a smile, “I thought I had lost you, let me put it into plain English, you are now the owner of a villa on a Greek island with a small fortune to go with it and the dog owns the flat here in England.”
Flabbergasted I again shook my head, “But Lizzie lived in a poor little flat here, where does all this other stuff come into it?”
“I knew it would surprise you, but you see Lizzie is the last of a long line of titled folk. You thought she had no family and it appeared she had nothing. She wanted it that way. Then she would not have a long line of people begging for her money. You gave her friendship and your dog gave her company not wanting anything in exchange. This is her way of thanking you.”
It was Friday again and the clock was moving as slowly, but this was the last time I would look at it. I shook hands with my colleagues. Then with Mitzi, we did a special walk home from work. We slowed down at the flat, Mitzi’s flat. I waved to the shadow of a wonderful old lady Lizzie, then we made our way home, Mitzi stopping to sniff all the pee mails along the way. I’m sure she knew this was the last time we would walk this route. Well, it would be hard to miss. I packed everything in our flat. The removals were due in the morning, then we had a flight to Greece. Whatever state the villa was in, it would not have that Friday slow ticking clock.