Arthur and his wife were friends of my Dad's. They lived in an assisted living facility, not because they needed help, they were just tired of cooking for themselves. Their new place was a glorious two bedroom with private gardens and a patio full of flowers. There was a doctor's office in the compound, a pool, tennis courts, and did I mention a medical facility? And 3 meals a day. Don't think I didn't consider moving there myself. But I can't do Florida, lightening capital of the U.S. and me all full of metal. And the humidity is just wrong.
This loving couple was married for over 50 years. Madly crazy in love. When she died of a heart attack in her 80's, he was devastated beyond repair. He was a bear of a man, a daily swimmer who had easily recovered from 2 knee replacements. But his emptiness over his wife's death was so huge that it took him weeks to even be up for a walk. No one could cheer him up. After four months he finally got back into life and even took up his daily swimming ritual. He was often found poolside reading the newspaper.
Arthur was a very neat man. Everything in its place kind of guy. So he was sitting by the pool one day when he noticed something out of the corner of his eye. He put his paper down and saw one piece of newspaper floating in the pool. He hadn't noticed it when he sat down; how did it get there? Had it been there all along and he hadn't noticed? He knew that wasn't possible since he knew exactly where the walnuts and the cashews were and they were in identical canisters on the same shelf in the left kitchen cabinet.
He looked right and left. There was no one around. There were also no other loose pieces of newspaper anywhere on the grounds. Annoyed, he waited to see if a gardener or pool man would wander by and pick it out but he was all alone on a beautiful sunny day.
After a while, the wet newspaper bothered him so much that he decided to get it out himself. He walked over to the pool office, retrieved the pool net and with the long pole he gingerly edged the paper towards him. He laid it on the concrete and looked at the date.
It was the date his wife's obituary appeared in the paper. Four months earlier.
And her picture was staring back at him.
This entire week's posts are excerpts from His Dead Wife, my novel on reincarnation. Some of the names have been changed or omitted to protect the people who got on my nerves.