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Fiction Happy Sad

I hate when you’re almost asleep, your phone is plugged up away from your body, and then it rings. You think to yourself, do I really want to turn over, after I just got comfortable, to answer my phone at 11 o’clock at night. It’s probably a wrong number. But then you think, maybe it’s a friend who needs you, or your mom. By the time you think all these thoughts you’re wide awake, and you turn over to answer, and they hang up. It’s utterly frustrating!! So, I look at my caller ID, and it was my mom. Oh no, she never calls this late at night. I called her number back, and it rings and rings. I wait a few minutes and try again. She finally picks up.

“Mom, what’s wrong?” “Oh honey” she spoke tearfully. “I have terrible news! Your grandma Betty died about an hour ago. They called me from the nursing home, and said they went in to check on her, and she was unresponsive.” I could tell mom was in shock, and frankly so was I. We were close, I was just there Sunday, and we were laughing about the silliest things. But that was our thing. “I’m on my way over, mom. Just hang tight.” I told her.

I drove the three blocks to mom’s house in record time, and walked in the back door. Mom was sitting at the kitchen table drinking her special medicine (scotch) and looking shell-shocked. “Mom”, I went over and put my arms around her, and she just bawled. “What happened? How can she be gone, healthy one minute, and not the next? I don’t get it.” I comforted her, although I had the same questions. “We’ll call her Dr. when he opens, and get some answers.”

I called Dr. Martin’s office promptly at 9, and got the receptionist on the line. “Hi Missy, I need to speak to Dr. Martin please about my grandma.” She said she was so sorry, and patched the call through. “Sabrina, I’m very sorry about Betty. I just got off the phone with the medical examiner, and he told me she had sudden cardiac death. It’s not uncommon in people your grandma’s age. If there is anything we can do, please let us know.”

I got off the phone, and told my mom. With tears in her eyes, she just shook her head. “We were just talking about testing for clogged arteries the other day when I was there. It’s all my fault!” I took her hands in mine, and told her it was no way her fault, and never to think that. We went to the funeral home to make final arrangements, and tried to make it through the day. Grandma Betty had a lot of people at the home who loved her, so we had a small memorial service there.

I was talking to her best friend there, Rita, and she had such sweet stories about Betty. She was always trying to help anyone in need. “There was this one time this stubborn old man named Charlie thought he was going deaf, but he refused to go to the Dr, and just told everyone to speak louder. Well, Betty went into his room and lip synced for about five minutes. That got him scared, and when he saw the Dr. the next day, it turns out it was just wax. He could hear fine after that. We’re going to miss her.” Every time we ran in to someone, there was always a funny or sweet story they had to tell us.

We went into her room to clean it out, and there was a woman just sitting on the bed staring out the window. “Can I help you? I’m Betty’s granddaughter, and this is her daughter.” “Oh my gracious, I am so happy to meet you. I loved her so much, and I know she loved you. She talked about you all the time. Especially your visits on Sunday, Sabrina. She talked about them all week. I am so sorry for your loss; she will be missed. Because of what happened to her, I found out I have clogged arteries, and am having a procedure tomorrow to unblock them. She saved my life!” “I’m happy that you are getting that taken care of. Take care.” And she left the room.

My grandma was half French and always had this saying, (Un mal pour un bien) a bad for a good. I believed that to be true now.

We started boxing up her things, and tears welled up at all the happy memories of her life. I saw this picture with me and her, when I was around five, and it was an image of a picturesque cottage. The cottage was stone, with a quaint patio with a glass table and chairs. It had a thatched roof, and white windows and doors. In the background was the sea. Gorgeous trees surrounded it. “Mom, where was this picture taken?” I asked her. “Oh goodness, I haven’t thought about that place for years! It’s in Ogunquit, Maine. It’s a little beach town, and that used to be mama and dad’s vacation home. I wonder what happened to it.” I stared at the picture, and remembered bits and pieces of our time there. Collecting seashells, making cookies, and sitting outside drinking squeezed lemonade.

We almost had all of grandma’s things packed up when I dropped an item on the floor. When I looked under the bed, I spotted an old tin box. I took it out, and showed mom. She told me that’s where grandma kept all her important papers. I opened it, and found her life insurance policy naming mom beneficiary, birth certificate, grandpa’s death notice, and a deed to the house in Maine. On the bottom of the box was a will, and she named me as the one getting the house. There was a note attached, it read “Dearest Sabrina. Our Sundays here together were the highlight of my week. So many of my dear friends here have nobody to come visit them, and you came every Sunday, you read to me, sang songs with me and made my world brighter. I love you so very much. Please go spend time at your new house in Maine. When you were there as a child, everything was a wonder to you. When your grandpa and I divorced, nobody went there anymore. But it’s completely paid for, so enjoy. I’ll see you on the other side.”

When I was done reading, there were tears pouring down mine and my mom’s face. “I had no idea she still owned that. She was more mysterious than I thought.” We both laughed at that.

A month later, I took a trip to Maine. A man was working on a gutter hanging off the roof. “Hi” I said. “I’m Sabrina, my grandma owned this place, and now I do.”

He looked sad, “yes, I heard about her passing. I’m sorry. My name is Jake, and I come by once a week to oversee the place. I imagine you won’t be needing my services any longer.”

“I’m not staying, I’m just here for a visit, so I will pay you what my grandma paid you to continue.”

Jake smiled, “Your grandma didn’t pay me, my dad knew her, and I did it for him, and her. But I will continue, for you.”

I thanked him, and found peace staying in that quaint cottage. Every year, I visited more and more. Jake and I grew really close, and started spending more and more time together.

The End- maybe. I learned a valuable lesson… that good can be born out of bad.

July 19, 2022 19:03

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4 comments

Tommy Goround
23:23 Aug 03, 2022

Clapping. This made me happy. It is part of the top 50% of the 20 stories I've read today.

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Debra Koffski
20:09 Sep 05, 2022

Thank-you for these kind words. I was getting discouraged.

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Betty Gilgoff
19:39 Jul 25, 2022

I really enjoyed your story Debra. It was quite touching and well written, I thought. I liked that you were able to use the prompt as a springboard to really work through a character arc, that Sabrina seemed to get some resolution to her loss, seeing the good coming out of it. I look forward to reading more of your work.

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Debra Koffski
20:10 Sep 05, 2022

Thank-you!!! That makes me happy.

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