I ran across this brief beginning of a short story in my files this week.
Something similar to this happened to my grandparents, 60 years married, during a long illness from which neither of them recovered. I remember saying to my grandfather, “I can’t imagine how you felt when you heard that, Pops.” And he simply said, “Agony.”
So, this short story is for them when I figure out where it’s going and finish it. *refiling under Familia*
“Lou. Lou?” A tormenting stillness. No response. “What was that noise? Baby?”
Albert struggled to sit up in their ponderous bed.
The pacemaker shifted under his skin. He forced himself to stay motionless, the hardest thing he’d had to do in eighty-nine years. “Dad-bob woman! Why don’t you say somethin’?” He raised a wilted black hand as if fending off the horror the answer might bring. “Lou, baby!”
Nothing. At all.
Falling objects had different sounds. Metal, an absurd, tinny ring. Wood, a dismal clatter. Glass, a keening along a splintered edge. An old woman’s body— “Louella! Please!” An old woman’s body contradicted itself. It made a whisper of noise when it fell, the crash of a soft-boned sack. He’d never heard the sound before now, but recognized it nevertheless.
Albert’s head lifted on his creaky neck. His filmy eyes, adjusted to the dimness, peered straight ahead to the archway that lead to Lou’s study, and then shifted left to the doorway that led to the kitchen.
The kitchen. A mere ten feet away. Because of his useless legs, it might as well have been ten miles.