Ellie sat in her rocking chair, watching the people leave. They all came to her to give her their condolences. She held a glass of wine in her hand, but hadn’t yet taken even a sip. After the last of the guests left, her oldest, Ashley, came over and put her hand on her shoulder. “Are you doing ok?” She asked. “Hmm, oh yes. I’m fine. Here I don’t want this.” Ellie replied, handing her the glass of wine and standing up out of the chair. She went into the kitchen to find her boys, Michael and Greg cleaning up and putting food away. “You don’t have to do that.” She said. “Just trying to help.” Greg said. “I know, you should take all that food with you though. I won’t be able to eat it all before it goes bad.” She stood in front of the sink and washed her hands. They both nodded and packed most of the food into paper bags for them to take. Ashley came into the kitchen, “Mom.” She said. “Yes, I’m fine. You all can go.” Ellie snapped. “No mom, we were thinking that maybe you should think about selling the house. You don’t really want to live in this big old place alone. Do you?” Michael asked. Ellie turned around on her heels and faced the three of them. “I most certainly will not sell this house. This is our house. You kids grew up here. How can you even suggest such a thing!” She yelled. “Mom, just think about it.” Ashley said. “Just go, please.” Ellie sighed and leaned against the kitchen sink. They each went over and gave her a hug and then left. Tears ran down Ellie’s cheek as soon as she heard the door close.
She went into the den, she hadn’t been in the den since. She poured some of the scotch that was sitting on the bar cart in front of the window and took and a sip. It burned her throat going down. She didn’t drink scotch, but she poured a little more and sat down in the big leather chair. She never sat in that chair. The leather squeaked and felt rough under her. The house was quiet, she couldn’t remember it ever being so quiet. She sipped the scotch and rested her head back, closing her eyes she let the quiet surround her. “Are you ok El?” She heard a voice. She opened her eyes to see a young man standing in the doorway. “I thought everyone left.” She said and turned away from him, taking another sip of the drink. “And don’t call me El, only my husband called me that.” She demanded. The man walked into the room and perched himself half way on the desk directly in front of her. “What do you wa..” She trailed off and stared at him. “You look just like my Henry when he was younger.” She said. He didn’t say anything, he just smiled at her. She stared at the young man waiting for him to say something. He just looked back at her smiling. She gulped down the scotch and shivered when it went down. “Be a dear and pour me another.” She held the glass out to him. He took the glass from her and poured some more of the scotch, he handed it back to her. “I didn’t know you drank scotch.” He said. “I don’t.” She replied as she took a sip. “Are you going to tell me who you are and why you’re bothering me? It was bad enough having all those people here, and I wasn’t expecting any stragglers.” She said. “I just wanted to see you.” He said, still smiling at her. “I don’t even know you. Would you mind leaving me to mourn in peace. I just buried my husband for Christ sakes!” She yelled. “Ok, I’ll see you soon El.” He said and bent down kissing her on the forehead. She watched him leave the room and everything returned to the quiet as before.
She finished the bottle of scotch and stumbled her way up to the bedroom. She looked at the bed and scoffed at it. She sat down on the edge and laid her head down on Henry’s pillow. Tears ran down her face, soaking the pillow. She started to fall asleep, she saw the young man standing at the end of the bed and then her eyes closed.
The sun was shining in through the windows. She sat up, surprised that she didn’t have the headache she was expecting. The man was sitting on the end of the bed. She got up and walked to face him. “You’re still here.” She said. “Oh, El, of course I am.” He said standing up. He put his hand on her cheek and looked at her with a beaming smile. “Henry?” She asked. He nodded. She reached up and touched his face. Her hands were young again. She glanced at the bed, and saw herself laying there. Her body old and frail and lifeless. “Oh no.” She sighed. Henry wrapped his arm around her shoulder and kissed her temple. “Can we stay? Can we stay in our house?” She asked looking up him. He smiled at her and simply said yes.