Myrna Bellweather sank her teeth into the slice of watermelon the aide, that one named Corinne, had set before her. It tasted just the way she thought it was going to: day-old and mushy, and something like biting into water. She pushed the plate away and struggled up out of her chair to head back to her room, muttering to herself as she went.
“Can’t even get a decent slice of watermelon around here.”
Corinne placed her hand on the rail of Myrna’s walker. “What’d you say, Myrna? Where you headed, anyway?”
“I’m going back to my room. The food here sucks.”
Corinne let go of the walker and snorted at the same time. “Fine, go on then, I’ll come fetch you for dinner.”
“My dad grew the best watermelon in Munion County. My mom’s pickled rinds won the blue ribbon at the fair five years in a row. That plateful of air you just set before me is an insult.”
And she headed down the hall, quick, before Corinne could see that she’d worked herself up into a crying jag. The thing was, she knew it wasn’t just this place. Fred had been bringing melon home from the grocery store for years, always thinking he was bringing her a gift, and they all tasted the same way. Empty. Nobody had gardens anymore, and the stuff from the store had been grown a thousand miles away with all the flavor bred out of it in exchange for portability.
Fred had been gone four years now, and that was the last time anyone had brought her a melon, even if it was a tasteless one. Then just last week, Joey had brought her here, to this place. He’d told her it had to be done after she fell getting out of the bathtub, and then he’d sold the house and set her up in this situation he called perfect, and went right on back to Michigan.
Myrna struggled to open the door to her room, which was way too heavy, and shuffled her way over to the big chair by the window. She had a nice view of the parking lot, and she was still surprised by how seldom anyone new pulled up for a visit. She also had a view of the sign out front. Greener Pastures. That still made her laugh every time she sat down, though not in a good way. What kind of a jackass comes up with a name like that for an old folks home?
She sat there for the rest of the afternoon, waiting, though she couldn’t have said for what.
All she could think about was her and Fred out on the boat that one afternoon when they were just teenagers. He kept spitting watermelon seeds in her direction, and she just kept right on pretending to ignore him, turning her face up to the sun like he wasn’t even there.
She wished he was here just now, she’d let him spit all the seeds he wanted, even if they were inside.
Hell, she might even spit some back.
Story A Day: One last story at the end of a month that got away from me. But I enjoyed the process when I could carve out the time for stories.
Today’s prompt was Endings and Beginnings. Which seemed like a fine way to end the month. Thanks so much for reading.