A short story : Jane and Joe

“Did you sleep well?” he asked concerned

“Yes I did.”

“How are you feeling now?”

“I’m much better. Please don’t worry,” she said, her voice soft

“How can I not worry? I am your son.”

“Son?” she asked confused.

“You must go and rest. You just got discharged from the hospital yesterday,” he continued ignoring her question.

“Yes, but I told you I have rested. I have been resting since a week.”

“A week. Yes. It had me worried. If something happened to you, how would I live?”

“I told you not to worry. I am fine. But I am not your mother and you’re not my son.”

“I understand you are angry with me for not staying by your bedside. I wanted to stay with you in the hospital but Bill wouldn’t hear of it. He said a lady would sleep with you in the room and that she would take care of you. Did she not?” he asked raising his voice; the crease between his brows deepened.

“Yes she did. She is Bill’s wife.”

“Bill’s wife? When did he marry?” He scratched his head like a child searching for an answer to a Math problem.

“A few years’ ago,” she answered, tired of the torrent of questions hurled in her direction. The problem she had in her lungs left her feeling fatigued. Age, years of managing home and poor health had taken a toll on her. She was exhausted.

“I am hungry. Will you cook today? I do not like what the new helper makes,” he said breaking her train of thoughts.

“But you just had your supper – an hour ago. You cannot be hungry so soon. You do know I just got out of the hospital. The Doctor’s advised me to take rest. ”

“Why am I so hungry then?” he asked, perplexed. “Ah yes. You are unwell. You must take rest. In that case I shall go for a walk.”

“It’s too dark for you to go out for a walk at this time. I cannot worry for you while you’re gone. ”

“No. It’s not. I want to go for a walk! I am a grown man now. You don’t need to worry. I am not your little child anymore” His tone was firm. She felt her energy had depleted. There was none left to argue.

“Fine then. Go ahead. But who will take care of me?”

“Umm…,” he stammered and paused while putting on his shoes. Back straight, he walked out of the living room and sat down on the reclining chair outside.

The sky was a blue-black. The moon a thin crescent was barely visible. The smell of the night jasmine filled the air. He closed his eyes. There were Bill and Ben. They were playing soccer. He was the goal-keeper. And standing in the distance was Jane in a floral dress as beautiful as the day they married sixty years’ ago. I miss you Jane. A tear rolled down his bony cheeks.

She watched him from the living room and then after a while headed to the bedroom. Returning with a Pashmina shawl – a gift he’d given her on their twentieth anniversary – she walked into the porch where he sat with his eyes closed.  Bending her petite figure, she draped the shawl over him.

He opened his eyes. His face lit up as he let out a sigh of relief.  “Jane, why did you leave me? I missed you so much,” he spoke clutching her hand in a tight grasp.

“Shhh…close your eyes now,” she said, trying to loosen his clasp. Her hands hurt where the veins had been pricked for the drip.

janeandjoe

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19 responses to “A short story : Jane and Joe”

  1. robbiesinspiration Avatar

    This is such a poignant read, Smitha. Thank you for sharing it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Smitha V Avatar

      Thank you so much, Robbie. I’m so glad you think so. I must try writing more short stories. I enjoyed writing this.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. robbiesinspiration Avatar

        I enjoy writing the odd short story too. They are fun and not overwhelming in their length and complexity.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Smitha V Avatar

    Reblogged this on Eúnoia and commented:

    Sharing a story I’d written a year ago on World Alzheimer’s Day, today. To see someone you love lose their memory and forget their name, their age, their family, you, who love them is distressing. It takes a toll on the caregiver. So, if you’ve been a caregiver or know someone who is, do support them in any manner you can.

    Like

  3. paeansunplugged Avatar

    Aww! Very poignant tale, Smitha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Smitha V Avatar

      Thank you so much Punam for sharing how it made you feel.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. paeansunplugged Avatar

        You are so welcome.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. michnavs Avatar

    Ahhh such a heart warming story on love, old age and fading memory..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Smitha V Avatar

      Thanks so much Mich for your kind words at my attempt at story telling🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  5. sienablue Avatar

    Well written. It evokes the memories of the last year of my parents 61 years of marriage when my dad had dementia, and later, of my mom’s confusion during her final months on hospice with heart failure. All the roles reversed in the family, but the love flowed just as powerfully in new directions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Smitha V Avatar

      Thank you so much for your kind appreciation. I’m sorry to hear of your parents. It must have been extremely difficult. Your comment means a lot more so since you’ve been through it. Thank you again for sharing your experience here. 🌷

      Like

  6. judeitakali Avatar

    This is so beautifully told Smitha. Love it

    Like

  7. Paul Avatar

    Lovely story. Absolutely lovely. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Smitha V Avatar

      Thank you so much Paul for reading the story and for your appreciation. It is very encouraging.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Gopalasamudram Subramanian Avatar

    A delightful short story on aging, fading memories and togetherness. Keep these coming 👍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Smitha V Avatar

      Thank you so much for your encouragement. It means a lot to me.

      Like

  9. Gopalasamudram Subramanian Avatar

    A delightful short story on aging, fading memory and togetherness. Keep these coming 👍

    Like

    1. Smitha V Avatar

      Thanks so much Jimmy for your appreciation.

      Liked by 1 person

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