A Vacant Chair Beside the Hearth

John A. Frochio

"... I Have Only Slipped Away Into The Next Room" Henry Scott Holland

In the calm of the morning, Anna quietly watched her husband as he sat at the kitchen table reading the newsfeed on his tablet, a cup of steaming coffee in front of him. She loved how his face switched between disparate expressions from one story to the next, one minute smiling, the next minute frowning, then taut and ready to lash out at the first person who would dare to speak to him.

She continued to watch him as she cleaned up after breakfast. He moved to the living room and sat in his favorite easy chair near the fireplace. It was a cold morning. A small fire simmered in the fireplace, casting out a warm glow and small puffs of dancing sparks. Later, her neighbor Kathy stopped by with a casserole. Anna thanked her and invited her for tea. "Thank you. It's nice to see you smiling again, Anna."

They sat at the kitchen table. Most of the time, Anna's attention was drawn to her husband in the living room, relaxing in his easy chair with an ebook reader. He looked quite comfortable in his blue and gray jogging clothes, gray slippers and blue quilted cap. A few wisps of gray hair peeked out from under the cap.

"Isn't my husband handsome?" said Anna. "On his days off, he always enjoyed reading a good book. He especially liked mysteries and spy thrillers."

Kathy's eyes misted. She nodded and smiled.

"Or he would take me somewhere pleasant, like the park or some cultural event in the city. It wasn't always like this, sitting quietly at home. He would take me out sometimes."

"I'm sure he would, Anna."

"But I enjoyed our quiet times at home together. Those were always nice."

"Life can be too hectic. We all need our quiet times."

"I'm so glad I spent the insurance money on a remembrance hologram instead of a funeral. Don't you agree? Remembering is so much easier this way."

Kathy stood up. "Well, I must be going. Things to do, you know."

Anna nodded. "We always enjoyed our quiet times. Those were our favorite times."

Kathy closed the door gently behind her.

© John A. Frochio 2016 All Rights Reserved

Date and time of last update 14:16 Wed 24 Feb 2016
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