The Anniversary Dinner by Joschua Beres
old memory is not the sharpest anymore! But golly, I knew you liked me when you fed me that strawberry by hand. Remember that? How you softly teased my lips with it? So romantic! That beautiful summer day by the Comel. Yep, that’s when I knew you liked me,” her words trailed off but her smile was as wide as a crescent moon on the horizon. “The cake is just wonderful isn’t it, Edgar?” He stared at her with glass eyes. “I found these organic strawberries at the Walmart. No hormones added!” Edgar didn’t talk these days but she was always happy to fill the void. “Remember that first picnic in the park, Edgar? How wonderful that was? Gosh, that was seventy-three years ago but I remember it like it was yesterday. “And you know my ninety-one year 40 • bohemia • December 2012
She reached over and touched his hand. The years had not been good to him. His skin was dry and flaking. His hair was falling out in clumps. His shirt was soiled. Edgar had to be moved about by her. His wheel chair made it easier because her arthritis would protest her if she had to lift him. “Oh, Edgar. What have the years done to us? I can still see that summer boy with wavy brown hair and blue eyes, freckles on his nose and a washboard stomach. All my friends swooned over you. And how you used to jump onto the rope swing and cannon ball into the river? Such a show off! ”
Illustration by John Hancock
She thought back to when she was young. Her skin smooth and untouched by liver spots. When her chest was tight and firm. Defiant to gravity. Before the kids and grandkids – none of whom ever visited anymore. They chose to leave her and Edgar alone in their small, isolated country home. She knew when they would call though, a week before their birthdays or before major holidays like Christmas. Driving was getting harder for Jean and Walmart was a thirty minute drive so she always bought in bulk. Her evenings were spent with Edgar in front of the TV watching reruns of The Andy Griffith Show or I Love Lucy. Her head cradled on his shoulder. He would silently watch the TV, his hand in hers. It was a quiet life far removed from the excitement of their youth but she liked it that way because they had each other. She was humming now as she gathered up the dishes. On the wall in the kitchen hung a picture of them - he, freshly returned from the Pacific, strapping and confident in his army uniform and she in a simple homespun dress with flowers in her hair. They were standing in front of her ma and pa’s old farmhouse in Seguin. That was their golden time. Shortly before that picture was taken back in the spring of 1949 he was down on a knee proposing. That is when she knew he loved her. And they had been together ever since.
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