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Short Story: A Class Act

Tovy Breuer

From the vantage point of her bed, she could see the wind drive fallen snowflakes across the window, the barren branches of her maple tree, shivering in the icy cold. Heidi covered her mouth and coughed loud and long. She envisioned venturing out into that wind, pulling her green sweater taut around her neck. It had been a long time since she had braved the wind. Now she only lay in bed and moved the blanket up or down according to the weather.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Occasionally her children came to visit. Very rarely, her grandchildren appeared as well, holding plates of who-knows-what and talking in exaggerated cheery voices. She also had friends. Her friends came every Shabbos morning to catch up on the news. It was a tradition maintained from the past, when she would sit under the wide bough of her maple on the red painted bench and matching table. One by one, her friends would drop by, until the maple was overflowing with people and voices.

Her friends were still there for her. They called at night, when sleep didn’t come after a full day of catnaps. They came, laden with warm, silver-foiled dinners in the early evening. They knew they would find her in bed. Heidi was always in bed. During freezing cold, scorching heat, gentle breezes, or falling leaves. All the seasons bothered her, the way the world didn’t stop changing, but rushed about, sleeping in the winter, bursting with life in the spring, sun bathing in the warm summer, and then falling again to the autumn winds.

She didn’t used to be like this. When she was fifty, sixty, even seventy, she was a young woman. People said she was forever young. Now the tables had been sharply turned, the dance floor vacated for another crowd. She had crossed over the bridge, to live out her life among the old.


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