The End of a Legend
After my mother died my father became very distraught and more and more depressed with each passing day. He didn’t know how he would go on without her. They had been together for 57 long hard years. I visited him almost everyday to make sure he didn’t do something bad to himself. After a few months things hadn’t gotten any better. I was hoping for some improvement but his mood actually seemed to get worse. I tried to convince him to go out more even if it’s just for a walk. Maybe you’ll meet someone I said. You mean a woman he said? There’s only one woman for me. Bring her back and I’ll be happy.
My father wasn’t a very friendly person so making new acquaintances wasn’t his strong point. On one particular visit we sat in his living room staring at each other as usual when he suddenly passed a casual remark. I met someone at Pathmark last week he said without even blinking. She‘s not as nice as your mother he added quickly. She’s very old but she said she was a ballet dancer when she was young. I didn’t believe her so she took me to her apartment and showed me photos of her in a ballet skirt. She’s pretty agile he added. I didn’t interrupt because this was the first time in months that he spoke in sentences. In the many months that followed he never spoke of this woman again and I left the topic alone.
My father died a day before his eighty first birthday. I put off cleaning out his apartment for almost two weeks mainly because my father couldn’t bear to get rid of my mother’s things after she died, so I would be getting a double dose of grief. Actually I didn’t go to clean it out until after the reading of his will. I was surprised to receive a notice that there even was a will. I was his only heir and the only one left in his family.
When I arrived at the lawyer’s office I expected to be the only one there. The secretary said to go right in there waiting for you. I went in and sitting to the left of the man behind the desk was a little old lady with blue hair. She was all in black and wearing a tiny flowered hat with a wrinkled veil over her face. We exchanged glances and she nodded politely and I did the same. I sat down and the attorney began to read. It was short and sweet. He left all his worldly possessions to the little old lady with the blue hair and wrinkled veil. Typical. When the attorney finished reading he handed me an envelope, shook my hand and bid me adieu. I was a little hurt and I guess it showed.
The old woman caught up with me in the vestibule of the building and took my hand and introduced herself. She said I guess you’re wondering who I am. I said I think I know. You’re my father’s friend from Pathmark. She nodded and I said I appreciate you being there for him at this time in his life. We shook hands and she was gone along with my father’s worldly possessions. When I reached my car I opened the envelope. There were just two lines on a piece of paper. “When you clean out my apartment don’t throw my white suit away, keep it for yourself. You’ll look good in it”. Typical.
The Last Will and Vestament
The following day I got up the nerve to enter his apartment. I tried to throw my parents possessions away without looking at anything. It took me all day. I saved the white suit for last. There was no way I would ever wear it. John Travolta I’m not. Well I thought, maybe I’ll just try it on and see how funny I look in it. I had a good laugh. As I put my fingers into the suits vest pockets the laughing stopped. I pulled out a wad of hundred dollar bills wrapped with a rubber band and a note that read “Thanks, love dad”. Un-Typical.