"Everybody has a secret world inside of them. All of the people of the world, I mean everybody. No matter how dull and boring they are on the outside, inside them they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds. Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands maybe" ~ Neil Gaiman (A Game of You)



Esther felt a wave of exhaustion settle into her bones as she shuffled her way through hugs and good-byes to the door.  Her son, Edward, ushered her outside and helped her into the car.  Another Christmas dinner come and gone, another year of loneliness spanned ahead of her.

He kissed her forehead at the door.

"Sure you'll be all right, Ma?" he asked.

She was in remarkably good shape for her age.  Spry, she would say, of both mind and body in spite of her 93 years on this planet.  It was the reason they let her stay in her home -- in their home -- by herself.

"Shush, son, I'm just fine.  Ready for a little sleep, though."  She smiled up at him and patted his cheek before going inside.

She went through the motions of getting ready for bed: changed into her flannel nightgown, brushed her teeth, took her meds.  She turned out the light, too tired for reading tonight, and climbed into bed.

Sobs overtook her, racked her body.  She missed him so much.  He was her best friend.  Twenty years gone, and still she missed him, still reached for him across the bed, still expected to see him sitting on Janey's couch, bouncing a grandbaby on his lap.

She wore herself out, quieted, and a strange peace settled over her.  She couldn't sleep now, but that was all right.  She had plenty of time to sleep.  She wouldn't be getting up again. 

It wasn't really suicide, right?  After all, they stopped feeding that Terry Schiavo lady so she could pass on, and no one thought that was murder.  She wondered if it had really been painless for that woman, like the doctors said.  Terry couldn't rightly tell them otherwise, now could she?  Esther hoped that when the time came, if it did hurt, and she faltered, that she'd be too weak by then to do anything about it.

God would forgive her.  He'd have to.  He'd have to let her in, have to let her through those pearly gates.  He had to let her find him.


Today's prompt: 

Use this sentiment or theme for your story “I miss my best friend”.
To play along, visit Write Anything's [Fiction] Friday, here.

Ironic note -- as I post this, Brahm's "Lullaby" is playing on my stereo.  Cosmically fitting, I think!


Donna K. Weaver said...


Anonymous said...

Wonderfully done. When I finished reading, I sat for a minute, quietly. Very nice.

Melanie M. said...

Great story Shelli.

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a moving story. I hope mine gives other people half the reaction I got when I read this.

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a moving story. I hope mine gives other people half the reaction I got when I read this.

Shelli said...

Donna, Word, and Melanie -- thank you so much.

Newt -- Thank you. I'll have to come by and read yours next. :)

Lynda said...

Very touching story. If I didn't know better, I'd think you'd lost the love of your life. You captured the emotions very well.
I'd like to think she found him and they danced through the gates together. :P}}

Shelli said...

Thank you, Lynda -- and I'm sure she did.

Annie said...

emotionally packed a punch that one... a fresh take on a controversial action, handled sensitively. well done.

Nice to see you on Friday Fiction again.. us old hands have to stick to gether huh?

visitors can see mine over at

Angela Felsted said...

This is so touching Shellie. Touching and heart rending.

Shelli said...

Thank you, Angela.