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Short story and poetry collection
Lazy Afternoon is a collection of short stories and poems ranging from the dark to the romantic. An Unconditional Love and The Christmas Box, two award winning short stories, are featured inside, as well as an award winning poem, The Silence of the Fall.
An Excerpt from An Unconditional Love
“Bev! Oh my God, Bev!” He ran down the stairs as quickly as he possibly could to where her body lay lifelessly on the entryway floor. As he reached her, he carefully turned her over, and noticed that her neck appeared to be broken. There was also a large gash on her forehead from where she had hit it on the entryway table when she had fallen. “Oh Bev,” he sobbed as he cradled her in his arms. He gently laid her back onto the floor, and after taking his jacket from the coat rack, he rolled it into a ball and placed it under her head. As much as he hated to leave her lying there by herself, he knew that he had to call an ambulance. “I’ll be right back sweetheart,” he said softly, even though he was fairly certain she was unable to hear him.
He went into the kitchen, reached for the phone and quickly called 911. “This is Henry Fallon. I live on 246 Peach Tree Lane,” he stammered into the phone.
“I’m sorry sir, but if you can, please try to compose yourself. I’m having difficulty trying to understand you,” replied the police officer on the other end of the phone.
Henry took a deep breath before continuing. “I’m sorry, officer…but it’s my wife. She fell down the stairs …and now she’s just lying there…” his voice broke off as he began to sob.
“It’s okay sir. Try to remain calm. We’ll have someone there as quickly as possible, but just be careful not to move her.”
“You don’t understand. I can’t feel a pulse and she has a large cut on her forehead. I think she might be…” and he stopped. He was unable to bring himself to say the words.
“Okay, sir. I understand. We’ll be there as soon as we possibly can.” Henry stood there motionless for a few seconds before hanging up the phone.
As he walked back to the entryway, he stood over his wife, looking for some sign of life. If it were not for the gash on her forehead, she almost looked as though she were sleeping. He slowly lowered himself to the ground and placed a thumb on each of her eyelids, gently prying them open. “Bev?” He whispered, but as he looked at her eyes, he was certain she was dead. “Don’t worry, Bev. I’ll stay here with you until the ambulance comes,” and he watched as her face became wet with his tears.
They had known one another since they were just kids and had attended school together. He had loved her even then. He was two years older than she was and he had waited until her sixteenth birthday to ask her out on a date. One date had turned into several, and before they knew it, they were an item. While she had been in her last year of high school, he had enlisted in the service, and before leaving for Korea, he had asked her to marry him when he returned. She had said yes and promised to wait for him, but six months before he returned home, she had sent him a letter, telling him she was marrying somebody else. It had nearly killed him at first, but in time, he adjusted, and he returned home a town hero, having been decorated with a Purple Heart.
He had never married, although he came close a few times, and ten years after he returned from Korea, he had learned from his sister that Bev had been divorced for well over a year. He took it as a sign and called her, asking her out to dinner. When he saw her after all the years that had gone by, he thought she was even more beautiful than he had remembered, and in a short time, they had become very close. She had two little girls that he simply adored, and it was obvious how they felt about him. Less than a year later, he had asked her to marry him, and she had said yes. Although he had been head over heels in love with her, he had known clearly the reason for her acceptance, and it had had nothing to do with love. She had liked what he had been able to offer her and her girls. Henry had always been level headed, a hard worker and a good provider. But he was crazy about her, had lost her once and was not about to let it happen again.
Life with Bev had been extremely difficult almost right from the very beginning. She had controlled every instance of their life together and was always the final decision maker. Henry had worked hard six days a week before semi retiring and sometimes twelve-hour days. Sunday had customarily been his day off, but Bev had always made certain Henry kept himself busy. Henry had been a carpenter and a good one too. When he was not at work, or repairing their own house, Bev had him doing side jobs for other people. It had saddened him to never be at home in the beginning, especially when the girls were growing. He had wanted to be a real father to them, but he was grateful because he knew that they loved him and treated him as though he was their real father, so he rarely complained.
There were many things about Henry’s life that upset him. He had been a man with many interests. He had skied, fished, hunted and enjoyed boating and scuba diving, but Bev had made sure that there was no time for hobbies or leisure activities. They had never taken a vacation together, unless it was over a Labor Day weekend, and it had always been some place that Bev had chosen.
And then there had been the other men in Bev’s life.