West Scranton 1989
She awoke and walked down to the kitchen. He was not sitting drinking coffee. He’s gone. She walked to the phone and dialed the numbers slowly. 9-1-1
‘911 how can I direct your call?’
‘Ambulance, my brother is dead. He didn’t come down from his room and make coffee.’
‘Can you check on him? Could he still be sleeping?’
‘I can’t see him that way. He is dead. He has made coffee at the same time for 40 years. Please send an ambulance.’
She must have told the woman the address. The ambulance appeared shortly after. She watched as the EMT’s worked to bring him down.
There were discussions and words exchanged meaning something.
They left. She was alone.
She lit a cigarette. She was the last of her line now. No children for her. Her brothers had some. He was always sort of a child to her even though he was older. A little slow and addled. Now he was gone. She made a martini.
All those boys that died in North Africa. I cut them. I saved some. I saved none. I didn’t save myself. My husband. My parents. My brothers. My sisters. All faded. All gone.
She inhaled and sipped the gin.
We won. Buicks and tv’s. Houses in subdivisions. This is the house I was born in. I’ll die here like he did today. They will find me days later I guess. I’ve seen alot of boys die in the war. I’ll just join them I guess.
She called the VFW and told them he died and wouldn’t be down today. He went every day at noon to drink until sundown.
Some would say a waste of life I guess. What do you tell them when their old. That they don’t deserve a drink. I deserve a drink. Right up until the end.
She drank and talked to the funeral home at some point during the day to confirm the plans. She drank until sundown.
The night. Alone in this house for the first time ever. I guess I outlasted them all. Maybe I don’t wake up tomorrow. It wouldn’t be so bad I guess.
Gene G. McLaughlin 2013