An Old Man and a Lost Wife: Ten Sentence Story #177

A couple are visiting a family friend; one who stepped in to save the home of one of their parents after their eviction from a country where they had farmed for years, employing local people, feeding and educating local families and whose recovery from their loss of everything was then about to be lost again in their own countries’ revolution.

A word was given and later a simple legal paper signed, a house changed hands for nothing and was saved for their family, now many years later the time had come for that house to be sold.

They were warmly welcomed by an old man, still recovering from the loss of his wife six months before, his three dogs and elderly cat.

They were then taken to lunch, a simple affair, fresh grilled meats, salads and local wine; somewhere over lunch the “business” of the visit was conducted in a few words and the party returned to the host’s farmhouse.

The couple were then offered a guided tour of the house, displayed with great pride and more than a touch of sadness because it still reflected the presence of their host’s late wife; her paintings were still on the walls, her English ornaments still displayed and most poignantly her chair by the window overlooking the garden she had lovingly created.

Then the couple were offered huge red-bound photograph albums, the pages yellowing with age, photographs of the farmhouse through all stages of conversion, families young and old and in some cases forgotten, uncles, aunts, cousins, parents, grandparents and great grandparents.

For a glorious hour they were alive again, entertaining tribal chiefs in Morocco, cooking huge paellas in a pan three-foot in diameter over a specially build fire pit, the remains of which were still in the yard.

As the afternoon drew to a close it was time for the couple to leave, they bid their farewells and left with gifts of cheese and quince preserves.

One last walk around the garden inhaling the scents of the herbs and the blossom and a final farewell to the dogs and they took their leave.

On the way home the man turned to his companion and asked how she felt — “enriched” was her reply.

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