Author / Storyteller / Dreamer

Slice of Life

Then and Now

 “It isn’t as if she’s in love with him.”

I paused, fingers poised on my laptop keyboard and mentally rewound the words I’d overheard spoken at a nearby table.  I couldn’t possibly have heard correctly, could I?

I’d settled in so nicely at the café in my neighborhood book store for some concentrated writing.  Just seconds before, I’d been dismayed when two very elderly women had shuffled past me with cups of coffee and painstakingly seated themselves at the table next to mine.  I’d had an impression of white hair and physical infirmities and—slightly annoyed at having my space invaded, not to mention concentration interrupted—wondered why they’d chosen to sit so close to me when there where so many other empty tables to choose from.  Especially since I was obviously working and not relaxing with coffee or a book.

If I’d created two eighty plus year-old characters in a novel, I don’t think I’d ever think of having one of them—once they’d both settled, taking time to stir cream and sugar into their coffee—speak that piece of opening dialogue.

“It isn’t as if she’s in love with him.”

Love the line, but the speaker doesn’t fit.  Or does she?

Intrigued, I listened although frankly hard not to unless I’d had earplugs as the woman’s voice was loud and rusty with age.

“Since he went into the hospital, she’s just worried what will happen to her now.  She claims she won’t be able to cope alone.  Says she’s not strong.  Like us.”  A sip of coffee, and the speaker continued, “Well, we did it.  We learned.  And so can she.”

I reached for paper and pen and began to scribble notes.  The ladies eventually went on their way, perhaps to catch a bus back to Century Village, but leaving me to ponder about their lives.

About the friend whose husband is so sick.  But primarily I thought about the glimpse I’d been given into the world of a widow, the difficulties and adjustments of this transition and the sisterhood that binds them all together.

In a short space of time, my conscious awareness of widows altered.


This was written some years ago.  I’m now a widow and reading this long ago blog post resonates so clearly.  I’m now that woman with friends who are also widows and it is a sisterhood.

And, like my own friends, I learned.

Like them, I did it.




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