User Rating: 4 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar Inactive

The stately elm trees provided a cool canopy from midday sun as I strolled along Rebecca Lane. The expansive homes, Gothic and Greek revival, stood as bastions of old-moneyed clans along the shady street. Twenty years have passed since I lived in this tranquil town, albeit, on the other side of those proverbial tracks, a delineator of wealth and the working class.
I was raised on the south side and grounded in the adage that honest hard work will set you on your way. Though my beginnings were austerely humble, I was always shrouded in love by my parents, much like the mighty elms shielding the mansions from the intense heat of those summer rays.
I was returning to my roots and I felt an immediate inclination to walk those wide buckled, slate gray sidewalks.  As I approached fourteen Rebecca Lane, I was taken aback. The side entry which had been discreetly hidden from view was now clearly visible from the curb.  It had always been reserved for servants and attending staff. The door was now red and no longer black as I had recalled when I passed through it so many times before.
I distinctly heard a familiar voice calling my name; “John, oh, John, please come inside and tend to my needs as you so tenderly did before”.  Sweet Ms. Emma warmly gestured, inviting me into her home.
I was always awestruck by Emma’s gracious manners and how she projected a warmhearted glow. It accentuated an image of confident self-esteem.  Her gentle kindness infected the rooms of that cold dark house, casting a radiant glow over its entire domain.
As a young man I was blessed with great physical strength. In the morning, I’d lift Emma from her bed to the wheelchair before I went to school.  After dinner I’d drop by for a cup of tea that Emma’s maid had brewed for me. Sitting before her on a tapestry-covered tufted ottoman, Emma would offer me proverbs of encouragement as I gently massaged her dreadfully swollen, arthritically ravaged feet.
We’d take a break from the draining rigors of physical therapy. I would seek Emma’s advice about my dreams of a better and more fulfilling life.  She always inspired me to succeed and to reach for my starry-eyed goals.
At the time, I couldn’t fathom her interest in me, but now I understand!  Many of Emma’s dreams were left unfulfilled. She did not want mine to follow the same bittersweet, doleful path. Emma admonished me with spirited, sage advice: “never allow disappointment to consume you with distress”.
Ms. Emma was now frail and barely able to sit upright in that iron-wheeled chariot.
She could barely speak above a whisper. She grabbed my hand to bring me close and with a raspy voice she summoned the will to voice these words: “John, I love you like a son. You were the only one who truly cared for me. My end is near, so I prayed to God hoping you would appear.”
I said my good byes and I embraced Ms. Emma with the same gentle, warm devotion as I had done so many times before.  Our final affectionate embrace was overflowing with tearful emotions.  It was not sorrowful or anguished; it was a cause for celebration. We realized life is to be shared with the ones you care for; they are the ones you should embrace and never ever ignore.

I passed through the side entry and didn’t look back as I proceeded to embark on a new journey.



I began my serious writing in August of 1998 after having been a victim of a freak accident in which I had a near-death experience. A second chance at life has been the source of inspiration for much of my writing. I have published five books of poetry, Serendipitous Mindscapes; Barefoot Ballet; Hued Horizons; Dream-Hunters; and Fate's Haven. In my free time I enjoy gardening, landscape design and participating in community service related activities.


Donate a little?

Use PayPal to support our efforts:


Genre Poll

Your Favorite Genre?

Sign Up for info from Short-Story.Me!

Stories Tips And Advice