#15 Shifting to the Front of the Queue

by Sheila North

Her family and friends thought her as cold as the corpse itself.

She wasn't, of course. How could she be, when the very person who kept her warm in that badly- heated house was as dead as a rusty old boiler?

No, she was mad, pure and simple. Angry at the live for living; angry at Death for existing; but, most of all, angry at him for being dead.

It wasn't supposed to turn out this way, she thought, as she methodically returned hand clasps, or subjected herself to hugs. No, she was supposed to die first, not him. How dare he jump the queue, and strand her like this? How dare he leave her to the mercy of hot water bottles, credit card bills, and the weekly food shop? How double dare he?

“Thank you so much for coming,” she said, shaking yet another hand, whilst inwardly she screamed: Jack, you bastard! Take me home—now!

In life, he had been her ace in the hole; her Mayfair, her get-out-of-jail free card, all rolled up into one tall, grey-haired, well-spoken gentleman.

No more, though. A clot of blood the size of a baby's big toe had seen to the end of that phase of her life. Unprotected, she stood at the front of the queue that was the rest of her life without Jack: her companion; her husband; her knight in a reconditioned Ford Cortina.


Anonymous said...

I love your line "a blood clot the size of a baby's big toe...".

Jade said...

Excellent voice. I especially like How double dare he? and her knight in a reconditioned Ford Cortina.

Sam Knight said...

Wonderful story. I love your metaphors. I was a bit confused by the third sentence. You deftly handled giving us the setting without ever spelling it out.

Vasiliki said...

Lovely light touch and moving story. You've created a 3D character with a clear voice and very real grief without being mushy. Thanks for sharing - best of luck.

Rachel Green said...

Super character. I can feel her ain.

Sarah Laurenson said...

The unfolding was artfully done. I love the picture of where she is with her grieving and mechanically going through the social motions.