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MINERVA (standard:romance, 1823 words)
Author: BENTLINKAdded: Nov 18 2004Views/Reads: 2659/1680Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A chance for a little more "Muskrat Love" is what keeps us all going.


"Some catsup for those hash browns Ma'am?"   The question yanked Minerva
away from her musings about last night and back into the here and now.  
One year had passed since Max.'s death and that is what she promised 
herself she could be allowed to recover from his passing.  He had been 
a good husband but now, he was gone she had reminded her self for the 
ten thousandth time.  Last night had been one year, and as she had 
gotten ready for bed she made another promise to herself; she would 
awaken and arise as a new woman or at the very least a changed one free 
from her grief. 

She now understood many of the reasons Max's passing had taken such an
awful toll on her life. He had been her first love and as dear a man as 
any woman could hope for.  Kind, gentle and a thousand other things 
that; she had over this last year both tried to remember and tried to 
forget. After a year of self imposed exile from life she now understood 
that his long, pain-laden illness had activated the caregivers within 
her. As his illness had advanced and his needs filled more and more of 
her life she had slowly gone from being a wife and a lover to become a 
mother and a nurse.  Both the wife and the mother had suffered a loss.  
The lover and the nurse were both now unemployed. And now even after 
her year of mourning all of them still had these changes they struggled 
to accustom themselves to. 

She had another restless night; filled with the usual disturbing dreams
of things she could never remember when she woke. However true to her 
pledge she had gotten up extra early, bathed, then dressed quickly in 
her new jeans, a sparkling white blouse, and the cute vest she and her 
good friend Beth had found at the flea market. To further demonstrate 
to the world in general and herself in particular that this was the 
"New and Improved Minerva" she for the first time in over a year 
applied eye makeup and blush.  She also took extra care in getting her 
hair just the way the lady at the beauty shop had shown her. 

Beth stubbornly insisted she get the haircut and as usual had been
right; her hair had needed help.  "Minnie we have got to get you in the 
beauty shop you are starting to look like a Bag Lady that's lost her 
shopping cart."   Beth was the only person in the world that had called 
her Minnie since Max had died. Beth like the good friend she had proved 
to be held Minerva's hand and dried her eyes many times over the last 
year.  Mother like; Beth had hugged Minerva tight when it seemed 
needed, then pushed her along when pushing was required. 

The weight Minerva lost over the last eighteen months had caused her to
look old. Old and distant, her eyes seemed sunken and dull, the life 
taken from them.  Minerva was both pleased and a little startled by the 
results of her decision to apply makeup. The dressing tables mirror 
unexpectedly reveled that with her new haircut and makeup she was 
suddenly radiant. “Wow what a difference” she exclaimed!  She then 
laughed aloud; the voice in her head was starting to sound like those 
TV advertisements for vitamins.  Still smiling at her little personal 
joke she moved through the house checking first the lock on the front 
door then rechecking the window latches and finally carefully locking 
the carport door as she exited. 

When she backed the Buick from under the carport and down the short
driveway to the street she noticed her homes lawn was once again in 
need of mowing and there were several days' worth of unread newspapers 
on the porch.  The crime prevention course she had taken soon after 
Max's death had warned her in no uncertain terms not to allow this to 
happen. “You will just invite a burglar in to help himself,” the 
retired cop instructor had said. 

After Max died, their house, this house they had shared became the last
thing real and solid in her life, the only thing that seemed immune to 
change.  Everything else seemed to swirl about or come and go, changing 
almost hourly.  The house had given her a haven, a place to hide from 
change and decision-making, a spot of solid ground. In the last few 
months the house maintenance had become an unwelcome burden.  Keeping 
the grass cut, the leaves raked and the bills paid seemed more of a 
chore with each passing season.  " Think about that later Minerva" she 
said to herself in a whisper. 

As she drove to the nearby McDees an easy listening station on the cars

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