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Sad Speculative

Author note: My mother recently passed away last week so I wrote this story to sort of help me to process this experience in some way.


The night had covered the sky and the rain began to pelt the roof of the building. The thunder cracked and rumbled as if a mighty engine was suddenly coming to life and then stopped all of sudden as the echoes faded into the air.


The sound made Ms. Smith wake up with a start. She found herself in a hard, plastic chair that was joined by a steel bar to other chairs. There was a television fastened to the chair on her right. She blinked in confusion at her surroundings. She looked down at her clothes and noted that she was still wearing a heavy overcoat that she had gotten from an old army surplus store. 


She shook her head to clear the cobwebs in her head. Her sinuses seemed stuffy in the cold, air conditioned waiting room. She felt the woolen cap on her head and took it off briefly and examined it. She stuffed the cap into her right hand pocket while she looked around the room.  


The ceiling seemed very high to her. In fact, it was so high, the only way that she could be sure that there was a ceiling was that the rain was not falling on her head. There were rows of square lockers on the side wall and a shop in the corner that was closed. 


"How did I get here?" she thought to herself as continued to scan the large room and found the ticket office across the marble floor. The girl who was manning the office glanced at Ms. Smith briefly before returning to the computer screen.


Ms. Smith looked at the massive display screens above the office and saw several listings for arrivals and departures but for some reason, she couldn't understand them. None of the names or locations looked familiar to her. She knew that this appeared to be a bus station, but she couldn't tell which one or where it was. She couldn't even remember if she was supposed to be boarding a bus or waiting for someone to pick her up.


She seemed to remember that someone was supposed to be picking her up to go somewhere.... a library perhaps. That was a Thursday thing, she remembered. Still, it didn't answer the question of what she was doing here in a bus station.


Ms. Smith got up from the chair and walked slowly to the ticket office to talk to the girl. It seemed odd to her that she had very little trouble getting up and in fact, she seemed remarkably lighter than usual as she crossed the floor towards the ticket office and her footsteps hardly made any sound.


The dark haired girl greeted her from behind the glass panel and smiled at her


"Hello Ms. Smith. Can I help you?"


"Yes, " Ms. Smith began and then stopped... "You know me?" Ms. Smith didn't remember seeing this girl before now.


"The girl continued to smile. "Yes, Ms. Smith. You picked up your ticket here. "


"Oh..." Ms. Smith began. "I'm so confused. It's embarrassing.." she fumbled in her coat pockets and retrieved a recently purchased ticket with her name on it for a bus. " I can't seem to remember getting here or buying this ticket. It’s as if I just woke up and I was here, by myself.


The last thing I remember is that my nurse, Cindy, was going to bring coffee in the morning. It was kind of a thing for us on Thursdays. "


" Thursdays….” she said again and paused in the thought.…”I also seem to remember going out for dinner with my son on Thursdays too. We would often go to the library on those nights and then go out to eat and then get cat food and a few other items from Dollar General."


The girl looked back at her listening to her. "it sounds like a good time and it was always a Thursday?"


"Yes. " Ms. Smith replied. "It was always a Thursday. He would get off from work and would pick me up. I would take a shower and then get dressed and we would go to the library. Then, we would go to Arby's for dinner"


"Well," the girl said. "We don't have an Arby's, but the sun is coming up and that coffee stand over there just opened. Maybe some coffee can help clear your head for you. In fact," she paused as she retrieved something from the drawer beneath her. "I am glad that you came back, because I almost forgot to give you this." She handed Ms. Smith a token that was about the size of a poker chip.


"What is it"


"Oh, it's a token for a free cup of coffee over there at the coffee stand. I was going to give it to you when you woke up."


"Oh! " Ms. Smith smiled with delight. "Why thank you! I could use a cup of coffee right now! Thank you so much!”


"Your welcome, Ms. Smith!" said the girl as she watched Ms.Smith leave and head towards the coffee stand on the other side of the station.


Twirling this new prize, Ms. Smith seemed to float over to the now open coffee shop as the morning cast it's light upon the little green coffee stand with it's many glass dispensers that lined the back wall of the little shop, filled with different flavors of beans. She smiled as she looked at the handwritten list of flavors that were displayed on the medium sized chalkboard on the bar. 


"There is nothing like the scent of a freshly brewed cup of coffee" she said aloud.


"Yes, Ms. Smith'' said the barista who had just turned around from the machine. "I wholeheartedly agree! I guess that's why I'm a barista. I love the smell of fresh coffee too and I have just the cup for you!"


Ms. Smith looked down and saw the fresh cup sitting there in front of the bar. How did that happen, she thought? I hadn’t even paid with the complimentary token yet. Still the smell of the coffee dispelled any questions she had about it. She took a seat on the stool and sniffed the brew appreciatively and took a sip 


"Ahhh... This is pretty good. I think it's even better than what my nurse Cindy gave me. That was a Thursday, thing too."


“A Thursday thing ay?, said the barista. “Please tell me about it! I am all ears!”


Ms. Smith sighed contentedly as she sipped the hot, brown liquid. For now, everything seemed just right.


********



On Thursday morning the daylight peeked through bits of an overcast sky as Cindy came into the room to prepare Ms. Smith for her morning coffee per her usual routine. It was a Thursday thing for them. This time however, it really was different. Cindy looked down at the body as it lay still. Ms. Smith wouldn't be needing coffee anymore


May 04, 2021 16:18

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2 comments

Francis Daisy
11:20 Dec 12, 2021

Oh my goodness, I am so terribly sorry to hear of your loss.

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Patrick H
19:04 May 16, 2022

Thank you. I am re reading this one as it happens. It's been over a year since she passed and in other transitions, my first born is graduating from college on Friday

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