The Best You Could

“Good morning. This is Alicia from Lake Serenity Nursing Home, and I’m trying to reach Kate Watts.”

“This is she.” Her eyes darted to the right in an air of suspicion. “How can I help you?”

“Great,” she sighed. “I’m so glad I reached you. I’m calling on behalf of Eunice Brown. She’s asked me personally if I’d call you.” Alicia’s thick Southern voice began strong and pragmatic, then almost broke breaking the news. “Well, she’s not doing too good. Actually, she’s on the verge of passing.”

“Eunice? I’m sorry—I’m a little confused. I’m not sure why she asked you to call me.”

The silence gathered in intensity as Alicia fumbled for a response. “Well, umm, I’m not sure either. Miss Eunice asked me to call you, and…”

“Eunice was my step-mother. We no longer consider ourselves related. Please don’t call me a—”

“Wait! Please. Miss Eunice asked me to call you. She wants you to come see her. She said she has something for you.” Her rapid speech fired like bullets.

“I’m not sure there’s anything that Eunice has that I would desire. As I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, we’re not on the best of terms.”

Alicia hesitated. “Miss Watts, Miss Eunice said she knew you wouldn’t wanna come. She said to tell you, and I quote, ‘Get over here now, or I swear I’ll haunt you when I die.’” She winced, expecting that the end of the call was nigh.

“Good lord. She already haunts me,” Kate directed to herself. “Fine. Tell her I’ll see what I can do.”

“Thank you, really,” Alicia said then paused. “Oh, Miss Watts, one more thing. She really doesn’t have long to go. She could pass at any minute. Please don’t wait too long.”

No response quite captured her emotions, so Kate disconnected. What could that woman possibly want with me? I haven’t even talked to her since Daddy died. And for very good reason! The nerve! She continued scoffing—a silent scoff but with visible facial expressions—which may have seemed odd to onlookers, had there been anyone who noticed.

***

In the reception room, Alicia held out her arms wide in anticipation of a warm hug but quickly brought her arms in and changed her motion to waving, wiggly fingers as she read the cold, stoic face of Kate Watts. Kate knew that Eunice had charmed these ladies, and she severely judged them for being duped; they all held heartbreaking faces of pity for her, as well as themselves.

Alicia wafted down the hallway leaving a trail of cherry blossom in her wake. “Here’s her room right here.” She knocked gently on the door and cracked it open. “Miss Eunice, someone’s here to seeee youuuu.” A faint voice mumbled something, and Alicia opened the door wider to let the guest in. “Here she is! Miss Kate’s come to see ya!” Extremely proud of herself, Alicia presented the guest and motioned her to sit at the bedside; as her emotions welled inside, Alicia inhaled deeply to keep from crying, and noticing that she perhaps stayed too long, she left.

Kate stared at the woman, fragile and corpse-like. Eunice moved the bed into an upright position and turned her thin-skinned, mouth-agape face towards Kate, whose eyes increased in circumference until she realized they did so, and when she caught this breach of emotion, she slanted them seedily.

“Well?” Kate began, seeming inconvenienced by the visit.

“How you been? I ain’t seen you for ages,” Eunice almost smiled through her slow, feeble voice.

“Eunice. What do you want?”

Eunice, feigning a wounded pride, began. “Well, I know you probably hate me, but I just wanted to say sorry before I die. We didn’t see eye to eye, but you needed tough love. I’m a cantankerous woman, and the world needs people like me.”

“I disagree. The world needs love and encouragement and—“

“I knew you’d say that. That’s why we never got along. We see things different. Anyways, I’m sorry we didn’t get along.”

“The receptionist said you had something for me. Is that it—to say you’re sorry? On your deathbed. That’s very classic-Eunice.”

“Take what you can get,” and at this, Eunice tried to laugh, but her feathery breath wheezed.

Kate sat back in the chair. In the dim quiet, she contemplated the apology as Eunice’s breath rattled a slow and labored sign of life. An epiphany descended with the specks of dust in the small shards of sunlight straining to enter.

“You know, Eunice, I’m sorry, too. I’m sorry we didn’t get along. But, I just now realized that you did what you thought was right. You thought tough love was right. It wasn’t, but you didn’t know better, and I can’t blame you for that. You just…didn’t know better.”

“Whatever helps you sleep at night, hun. Go on now. I’m tired. Gotta get my beauty rest.” Eunice turned her face to the wall, silent and still.

Kate stared at the nearly lifeless figure, watching her chest heavy with breath. She pitied Eunice, partly for her beliefs and partly because she knew Eunice would hate to be pitied. “Thanks for calling,” she whispered. Kate withdrew from the room. She smiled a thank you to Alicia and walked to her car, scolding herself for the welling of tears.

Written by Karen Toralba – Hattiesburg, Missississpi, United States

Feature Photo by Erkan Utu


You Can’t Make This Sh*t Up Journal

A Record of Incredible Shenanigans

That I May or May Not Have Engaged in and/or Witnessed

You Cant Make it Up Journal

 

amazon-order

The English print on this custom leather-like graphic design and matte paperback finishing offers a blend of old-world charm and modern flair. Use this notebook as a daily planner or journal. This novelty journal with white lined pages makes a great gift and is sure to be appreciated by writers and anyone with a busy schedule.

  • Paperback: 149 pages
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 978-1700068170
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.3 x 8.5 inches

 

CTA Chalkboard

45 Mag accepts submissions year round. Enter yours today!

Fiction

Non Fiction

Memoir

Poetry


How to Become an Independent Publisher

5 stars
This is a great course for authors. I will be using the material as a reference for all my future book projects. Thanks. ~Sudhir Ahluwalia

5 stars

I felt like I was in such good hands during this whole class! ~Andrea Askowitz

5 stars

AMAZING !!!! A Wealth of information, that no wants to tell you about. You can be in control of your book. Wonderful….. ~Rocio Vargas

FB .Still002

  • FREE DOWNLOAD of “The Right Way to Self Publish” ebook.
  • Adobe InDesign – Format your book’s interior without the hassle of readjusting your page numbers and paragraphs. Create a manageable table of contents. Free 7-day download link included.
  • Adobe Photoshop – Design a professional-looking book cover without paying an artist hundreds of dollars. Free 7-day download included.
  • HTML Coding – Learn basic computer coding language so that you can better manage your website and format ebooks.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s