Tue. Jun 25th, 2024

A woman who recently lost her mother brings home an old lady from a rest home to the disgust of her husband who immediately leaves her.

Ann Fisher lost her mother when she was fifty-two. Ann and her mother, Fiona, had been very close, and her loss left her devastated. Ann was a mother and wife, but nothing filled the vacuum Fiona left in her life.

A week after Fiona’s passing, the retirement home in which she’d lived called Ann and asked her to pick up her mother’s personal effects. What no one expected, even Ann, was that she wouldn’t be coming home alone.

Ann was devastated by her mother’s death. | Source: Pexels

When Ann walked into the retirement home, memories of her mother flooded back and she had to stifle a sob. She headed for the reception desk and asked about her mother’s belongings.

“Mrs. Fisher,” the receptionist said sympathetically. “If you like, we can load the boxes with your mother’s clothing and effects into your car…”

The receptionist was interrupted by a cry: “Annie? Annie Carson?” a voice asked. “Is that you?”

Ann turned and saw a frail-looking elderly woman standing before her. “Mrs. Gove?” she gasped. “Oh my God! It’s been over thirty years…”

Mrs. Gove limped over and placed her arms around Ann. “Oh, Ann,” she whispered. “Seeing you is almost like being with my Simon again!”

Ann hugged Mrs. Gove, and tears flooded her eyes. Simon… How long had it been since she’d last thought about Simon? Years, probably since Mandy was born, and she’d finally made peace with her past.

But once, when she’d been the happy, lively Annie Carson, she’d been in love, madly, completely in love with Simon Gove. They’d met in college, at a campus bar.

Ann went to the retirement home to pick up her mother’s personal effects. | Source: Unsplash

Ann had been sitting with her roommate when she’d suddenly been doused in ice-cold beer. She jumped to her feet with an angry cry, only to find herself face to face with the most beautiful boy she’d ever seen.

“I’m so sorry!” the boy cried. “Please, please forgive me!” Anne had opened her mouth to remonstrate, but the boy dropped to his knees in front of her.

“You’re so beautiful,” he said. “And this was the only way I could think of to get your attention, to get you to notice I’m alive. Please forgive me, and say you’ll marry me!”

Ann had burst out laughing, and Mae, her roommate, exclaimed: “Annie, this guy deserves an A+ for effort! Marry him already!”

It had been a wonderful night, and when later that night Simon had kissed her at the door of her dorm building, she knew he was the one, that she would never, ever want to kiss anyone else.

Ann and Simon had been inseparable from that night on, and when he proposed for real two years later, she accepted. He took her home to meet his parents and they were very welcoming.

“You are the first girl Simon has ever brought home,” Mrs. Gove had exclaimed. “And you’re the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen — he was right about that!”

“Annie? Annie Carson?” a voice asked. “Is that you?” | Source: Unsplash

Ann laughed. “You can’t trust Simon, you know!” she exclaimed. “He’s a fibber!”

Mrs. Gove took Annie’s hand in hers. “No, my dear,” she said. “My Simon adores you, and I think he’s found the right girl!”

By the end of the visit, Mrs. Gove and Ann had been best friends. And when Simon met Ann’s mother, Mrs. Carson had been delighted with her daughter’s fiancé.

Ann had believed then that she was living a fairy tale, that everything was perfect. She was 23, she was about to become a teacher and marry the man of her dreams.

Then two days before the wedding, Ann and her mother went to pick up the dress, and when they got home, they found Simon’s father sitting on their doorstep, his head between his hands.

“Mr. Gove,” Ann had cried. “What are you doing here so early?”

Mr. Gove dropped his hands and struggled to his feet, and when she saw his ravaged face, Ann knew something terrible was about to happen.

Ann met Simon in college. | Source: Pexels

“Annie,” he whispered. “Annie, it’s our Simon. There was a car accident last night, and he and his friend David, they…” A horrible sound half scream, half sob choked Mr. Gove.

“No!” Annie screamed. She stepped forward and pushed Mr. Gove. “LIAR! LIAR! LIAR!” Ann ran into the house, up the stairs, and locked herself in her room.

She lay on her bed and let her fear wash over her. “Liar!” she whispered. “He’s a liar! My Simon is alright. He’s alright.”

A little later, she heard someone knocking on the door. “Annie,” she heard Mrs. Gove’s voice say. “Please let me in.” Ann heard the pain in Simon’s mother’s voice.

She couldn’t say no to her, not when the pain she heard echoed her own so exactly. So she got up and opened the door. “My love,” Mrs. Gove said. “Our Simon is gone…”

The two women held each other and wept until there were no tears left. “Simon will always live on in our hearts,” Mrs. Gove had said to Ann after the funeral.

“You’re very young, Ann,” she said. “One of these days you will wake up and you will discover it’s a beautiful day, despite the pain. And maybe on another day, you may meet a young man, and you will discover that you can love someone else. And that’s OK. That’s life. It doesn’t mean that you love Simon any less, it just means that you are human and that you are healing.”

Simon and Ann became engaged. | Source: Unsplash

Ann listened with tears running down her cheeks, shaking her head in denial. “No!” she cried.

“Yes,” Mrs. Gove said gently. “Because that is what Simon would have wanted. He loved you so much, Annie, he would have done anything for you, so do this for him — be happy.”

Now, nearly thirty years later, Ann was standing with Mrs. Gove. “Why are you here?” Ann asked. “Mr. Gove…”

Mrs. Gove sighed. “I’m afraid Alfred passed away six months ago,” she explained. “He had Alzheimer’s and so I sold the house and we moved here. We were in the married couple’s wing, they’ve just moved me here.”

“My mother was here,” Ann explained. “She just passed away. I miss her so much!”

The morning Ann picked up her wedding dress, disaster struck. | Source: Unsplash

Mrs. Gove gave Anne another hug. “You must be strong my dear. Do you have a family?”

Ann nodded. “Yes, I do,” she confirmed. “My daughter is grown-up, she’s left the house… My husband…well, he spends a lot of time working and he golfs on the weekends…”

Mrs. Gove said softly, “I guess being a woman means being alone, mostly.”

Ann looked at Mrs. Gove, and an idea blossomed. “Maybe, maybe not…”

When Ann arrived home that afternoon, she was not alone. “Hey, honey!” she called to her husband. “Jack?”

Her husband came out smiling. “Hey hun!” he said, then he stopped dead. “Who’s that?” he asked, looking at Mrs. Gove who was standing in the lounge with her suitcase beside her.