Ripe Romance

On the center of the long oak dining table sits a rectangular cake with silver-tinted words that read, “60th Anniversary.” Pam runs from the kitchen to the table to put the finishing touches to the already overflowing spread. The doorbell is ringing and someone is also knocking on the front door. Her mother, Mabel, calls out, “I’ll get the door, honey. Hurry and get your father so we can quickly sing and put him back to his room.”

Pam goes to get her father, who she sees is already dressed up and ready for the celebration. Her relatives’ voices carry over to the hallway as she wheels her father to the dining room. When they appear, Mabel crosses the room to stand by her daughter and husband. She flashes both of them a smile that Pam knows takes his father’s breath away each time. So her mother always tells her.

“Dear loved ones, thank you for coming to our 60th wedding anniversary. I never imagined I would have my Frank here by my side after all these years,” Mabel pauses as she looks lovingly at her husband, who stoically looks ahead to the crowd.

“I-I . . ., ” Mabel’s voice quivers, her eyes misting. “I-I’m so tired . . .”

“That’s okay, darling, you go ahead and rest with Frank . . .” one of Pam’s great aunts says. Pam offers her mother a hand as they go back to her parents’ bedroom.

“Honey, thank you so much for all your help. I’m sorry I just don’t feel I have any more energy in me,” Mabel says to her daughter, who’s trying to stifle her own tears.

“Mother, it’s okay. Just . . . you take it easy with Father. I’ll leave you two now.”

Pam leaves their room, thinking what she would do if her mother passes. Can she put up with another dead body in the house?

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