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Florence's Legacy (standard:drama, 2003 words)
Author: akAdded: Jul 02 2003Views/Reads: 2257/1461Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
On her 102nd birthday, an African American woman shares her life secrets with a young stranger. Her remarkable history empowers the young man to strive for heights he had not imagined.

Florence's Legacy 

By Kira Pirofski B.A., M.A. 

On the day of her 102nd birthday, an African American woman shares her
life secrets with a young stranger.  Her remarkable history empowers 
the young man to strive for heights he had not imagined. 

“Nurse, could I have a pitcher of ice water, please?” 

Those were the first words I heard from the ancient women in the next
bed.  She had arrived two days ago and had slept soundly ever since.  
An IV pierced one of the protruding veins in her thin black, wrinkled 
arm, and a drainage bag filled with urine hung from the side of her 

From the looks of it, she was about 100's; her hair was white, and her
face was lined with deep wrinkles. Yet, she still looked strong and 
vital.  It was as if inside that small, ailing woman lived another.  
That other woman had a story to tell. 

I lay in the adjacent bed; my leg was in traction as a result of a
biking accident.  It was just a matter of time before the pins in my 
knee became one with the underlying tendons, muscle, and skin.  Soon, I 
would be back in the bike shop, fixing bicycles, listening to music, 
and reading.  But this dear lady next to me was just an ember, and I 
wanted to fan the flames, just so that the flame lasted a bit longer. 

“Ma'am, I can call the nurse for you,” I offered my hospital roommate. 
The harried nurses had ignored the call light, and my “roomie” was 
still parched. 

“Oh, goodness, don't trouble yourself, I can wait,” My roomate said
politely.  “I think I have at least that much time left,” the elderly 
lady chuckled at the joke she had made. 

“Call me Florence, please, what is your name?”  She continued as she
struggled to prop herself up in bed. 

Surprised by her energy, I put my book down and took a better look at
Florence.  “Oh, I'm Mike Rogers. Hi. Are you sure about me calling the 
nurse?  You look thirsty, even with those IVs you need water, I 

Just then, an African American male nurse arrived.  He carried a
precarious load of starched white towels, a pink water basin filled 
with soapy water, plastic toothbrush, and a pitcher of water.  
Carefully, he sat on the edge of the bed, and placed the entire pile on 
the adjoining metal table. 

“Florence, thank the Lord you have come back to us, I brought you
goodies my love,” he cooed as he took her hand.  “Let me pour you some 
water, here take some slowly, don't want to hurt your stomach,” he 

She graciously drank the water, and as he bathed her, he spoke gently, 

“You have 2 letters; one is from Paris, France, the other from Hanover,
Germany. Do you want me to get a volunteer to read them to you?  I want 
to, but my supervisor said I don't have time today.” 

Sensing my chance to find out more about this mysterious lady, I blurted
out, “Florence, I will read the letters, it would be my honor.” 

“Gene,” said Florence to the young male nurse, I guess I have a

The nurse gently kissed Florence's forehead after he combed her hair,
then he left.  She had already fallen back to sleep. 

Around three hours later she woke up again. 

“Florence,” I whispered, “are you ready to hear your letter now?”  She
answered immediately, “Yes, I'm dying to hear what my children are up 

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