Just a Story, based on a Kitchen

Maurice's kitchen

While talking, a man and his wife enjoyed their morning cup of coffee in their rather small kitchen. They were content there, with its cozy feel and just enough space for the two of them.

Their kitchen had become their place, a place to reminisce about days long past. And to dream. Dream about what will be.

They talked about how they had met fifty years previous, and were married within the month. They talked about their five children, each of whom had moved on, living their own lives, and how proud of them they were. The man and his wife talked about their love for each other. A never-ending endearment that began so long ago.

One morning, the man rolled out of bed, smelling the aroma of their morning brew. He gently guided his feet into his worn slippers then headed to the bathroom to wash his face and brush his teeth.

Not long after, he found his wife sitting at the kitchen table, with a pained look on her face, clutching her chest. He could see that she was trying to say something; instinctively he knew he needed to call 911.

She was having a heart attack.

While the dispatcher listened to the man, he rushed to his wife’s side, tugging on the coiled phone cord, willing it to stretch across the table. He pulled up a chair and sat, facing her, knee to knee. The man didn’t know what to do, how he could help, so he simply held her face in his smooth, wrinkled hands, while clinching the phone between his ear and shoulder.

Within minutes, he heard the blare of an ambulance’s arrival, causing him to drop the phone, and yell to the medical team, alerting them to their location. They rushed into the kitchen and quickly began attending to his wife, maneuvering about in the confined space. The man stepped back, almost into the adjacent room, watching, tears flowing from from his eyes.

His neighbors, a young guy and his pregnant wife and their two adorable kids, offered to drive the elderly man to the hospital.

“I love her so much,” he kept repeating over and over. “I don’t know what I would do without Anne.”

After having a stent inserted into her artery to prevent further heart attacks and a little over a week in the hospital, Anne returned home. Her husband cared for her, with the help of their children, who had flown in from various locations.

Post-recovery, after their children were gone, the man and his wife returned to their morning ritual, sitting in their small, cozy kitchen. Conversations flowed easily. They shared well-worn stories of their past, dreams about their future, and most importantly, conversations about the present moment.

One morning, after many mornings of enjoying each others company, there was a knock on the door.

“Come in!” they both hollered in unison, smiling at each other.

The door opened, and a small boy and his sister entered, holding a basket full of homemade muffins and freshly ground coffee. The kids’ mom, dad, and their newborn brother followed, greeting the man and his wife with a hug.

“Well, good morning!” the wife said, pulling the boy onto her lap.

“What’s this?” the man wondered, smiling coyly, when the little girl handed him a drawing.

It was a colorful picture of the man and his wife, sitting in their kitchen, drinking coffee, and talking. Over their heads was a big red heart.

“It’s you two. You are in love,” she giggled, looking at her brother, who laughed and proudly stated,

“We drew it together. For both of you.”

The kids’ mom and dad clasped hands and looked at the joyful man and wife, sitting comfortably in their kitchen. The young couple seemed to be dreaming about building a lifetime of cherished moments. Moments consistently filled with love.


The day before Rudy began driving home from Arkansas, I began wondering how his allergies were going to adapt to the two cats that have been living in our house for the past year. Just as I pulled into my work site’s parking lot, I received a picture of a mostly white, medium-sized dog from Roberto. Random dog inside our house, he texted. I knew immediately that the dog had slipped under our garage door, through the ten inch opening meant as a convenience for the cats’ comings and going.

Before the dog entered the kitchen, Brad had been sitting on the couch listening to an audio book, in preparation for a test that morning in class. He heard an unfamiliar clicking sound, turned to look what was causing the noise, and saw the dog standing there, eye-balling him. Brad jumped up and sprinted into Roberto’s room whisper-yelling, There’s a dog out there! As both boys stood cautiously back, wondering what to do, the dog gently walked over to them, rubbing his nose in Roberto’s hand. He immediately looked for tags, or any other kind of identification, but found none. After Brad had gone to school, Roberto took the dog to PetCo to see if an identification chip had been implanted, to find out who owned the dog. No such luck. A sales clerk gave the dog a bag of goodies: food, a leash, and some treats.

Later, when I returned home from work, the dog was in the backyard alone, relaxing. With no information about the dog, I knew he would be spending the night with us, and possibly days ahead. Hey, how is the dog?, Roberto texted. He’s quiet. He likes company… and you should give him a name, just so we can call him something other than dog, I texted back. It didn’t take him long to respond. Nelson. As in Willie Nelson, he wrote. That night, Nelson slept with Roberto, in his bed. Nelson never did bother the cats. He had a healthy appetite and drank plenty of water; yet, he was breathing heavy, was very tired, seemingly lazy, and mostly, Nelson seemed sad. Also, the small circular gash, as if he was poked with some kind of skewer in his leg, didn’t help.

As I was cooing to him and petting his smooth white fur, I contemplated Rudy’s arrival within the next twenty-four hours. I wondered how his allergies were going to respond to Nelson.

The next day, Nelson was limping, and constantly licking his injury. And by this time Rudy was home, enjoying everything he missed while living in Arkansas. I had to forewarn him that yes, there is a dog at our house, but no, we will not be keeping him. I was going to find his owners, to bring back the spark of life into Nelson’s demeanor. Happily, as the day wore on, as I was returning from picking up Brad from the local skate park, we noticed a Lost Dog flyer. On it was a picture of Nelson. Yet, the three times I called the number listed, I was told that he was not missing a dog. Nelson, once again, slept with Roberto. Rudy patiently accepted the situation.

Early, the next morning, while Brad was having his baseball picture taken, I took the flyer to a few nearby homes, asking people if they recognized Nelson. No one did. Forty-five minutes into my adventure, a man was climbing into his car when I hollered, Do you know who this dog belongs to? He pointed to a house up the street from his, and stated that the elderly couple was going to be so happy to have their dog home.

I knocked on the front door, and was greeted by a woman, possibly my age, being followed by a lady I assumed to be her mom. I held up my phone, showing them the picture of Nelson and asked if the dog belonged to them. The older woman raised her arms, excited, claiming the dog. Tosh! That’s my Tosh. His brother, Mac, who is blind and deaf, has been missing him. She pulled me into her house and introduced me to Mac. Mac and Tosh, I said, grinning. That’s cute. He looked like Tosh, except for his eyes. Tosh helps Mac. He guides him, makes sure he is safe, she said, happily. Then she hugged me, and introduced me to her wheelchair-bound husband.

I held up the photo once again and asked if the phone number listed was theirs. She said yes without really looking at it. I explained that I had been trying to call. Then she looked one more time, and realized the number was incorrect. How did you find us then? the younger woman asked. I told them my story. Then, even though I offered to bring Tosh back to their place, the elderly woman jumped into her own car and said, No. I will come and get him myself. Then she gunned the engine.

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