Today I’m sharing a short story I wrote a month or so ago after one of my trips to Little Rock.
Ellen stood in the doorway and although the scene was familiar to her, tears ran down her cheeks. I’ve spent the last twenty-three years as a nurse. It seems like I would have cried myself out by now. She brushed the tears away with the back of her hand. If only someone loved me like that. She pulled a tissue from her pocket and quietly blew her nose.
In the room, an elderly man stood by the bed holding the hand of a woman about his same age as he sang You Are My Sunshine. His voice was raspy but his eyes reflected such pain and honesty that the sentiment was obvious—this woman was his sunshine, she made him happy, and she may never again know how much he loved her.
During the past few weeks, Ellen had many conversations with the old man during which he recounted tales of his younger days spent with the woman lying in bed.
“I’ve known her for over seventy years,” the old man had told Ellen.
Instinctively, Ellen knew that the woman he sang to as he held her hand was the young, flawless girl he’d met so many years ago and that he did not see the wrinkles, the gnarled knuckles, the skin so thin that the slightest touch could cause it to bleed. She was positive that as he gazed down upon his sunshine, the love of his life, his wife, and the mother of his children, he saw the center of his world.
I bet when he looks at the shrunken body curled in the bed, he sees the sexy form of the woman that at one time reenacted the Marilyn Monroe scene—skirt fluttering in the breeze. Or possibly he pictures a young woman waving and smiling at him as she stands on a beach in Hawaii; the fragrant leis around her neck accenting her beauty.
He certainly sees the woman who laughed easily and often at every stage of her life; the woman whose glass was half full, never half empty; the woman who recognized the best in everyone; the woman who stood by his side and always forgave his foolish mistakes.
Ellen tiptoed into the room and the man bowed his head as if in prayer. She could only imagine what he may have asked of his God. Then she heard his whisper, like a soft breeze rustling the leaves of a tree, “Please dear God, don’t take my sunshine away.”
His sunshine and my mother, Coleta Weiss Kennedy, passed away on July 9th, 2008.
I’ll miss you Mom.
Thanks for stopping by. See you next week.
Jane Kennedy Sutton
Author of The Ride (to be released by ArcheBooks Publishing)
Tags: The Ride, Archebooks, short story, You Are my Sunshine, Marilyn Monroe, Coleta Kennedy