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The Visit

Go ahead, you freaking coward, I thought. You drove all this way, with your new 6" GPS. Now you’re a bowl of jello who can't ring a bell? I took a deep breath and pushed the buzzer ... nothing. I knocked, softly. The door opened, slowly.... "Joey Sliwa?" a voice said. It felt good to be recognized after thirty-five years. "Yes, Lana?" I said, smiling, questioning. A touch on the arm and an awkward hug. She led me into a medium-sized living room with two, white-as-snow Shih Tzu puppies. Sitting on a plush, microfiber couch with coffee and a baker's box of pastries. I was so drawn to this woman, I had to force myself to move away.... The dogs sat up. Their attentive stares were ... disconcerting. "I can't believe I'm here," I said. "I never would have come without calling -- but, your number was disconnected and you stopped communicating on your Facebook page." "I'm flattered you were so concerned. You do know I have MS, right?" "Yes, of course. I figured it might be something like that. I guess ... I wanted to see you one last time before I dropped dead," I said, with a half-smile. Our fingers touched and, yes, there were sparks. "How are your kids doing," I inquired. "Both grown and out of the house. They're always badgering me to come live with them." She seemed lost in thought ... for a moment. "And, Bob. You never told me. What happened to Bob?" "I don't want to talk about him," she said. "He was abusive and a terrible father. That's all I'm going to say -- for now." I moved closer and put my arm around her. She didn't pull away. "Lana, you don't have to explain anything. I'm here to visit my old friend, who I love very much." There were tears in her eyes. "You know, Joey, we can never be," she said. The Shih Tzus' white-as-snow fur was no longer so white. I felt a pain, and I was frozen in place. "Joey. What's wrong? Can I help you?" I heard her speak. "Can I help you? Sir, do you need help?" The voice of a young man. "Dina, call 911." I opened my eyes. My arm was outstretched, trying to press the buzzer. There were people around me who I didn't recognize. "I was looking for Lana," I stuttered. "Lana White?" The good-looking kid with the Burt Reynold's moustache took notice when I repeated her name. "Who are you?" he asked. "My name is Joey Sliwa. I was friends with your mother many years ago. We recently connected again on Facebook," I said. "And, you're her son, Daniel. I saw pictures." I felt a tightening in my chest. "My sister called for help. They'll be here, shortly," said, Daniel. He ran back into the house. There were neighbors gathered around. A teenage girl who was listening to the conversation sat next to me. "Lana passed away three months ago. It was in all the papers. And, it was a week before her body was discovered. They found Goo and Princess eating parts of her body. It was just too horrible," she said. One of the neighbors screamed at her: "Gigi, get the hell out of here. You're father's going to hear about this. This man is in no condition to hear that ****!" Gigi quickly left my side. The ambulance arrived and they lifted me onto the stretcher. The last face I saw was Lana's daughter, Dina. It was uncanny the resemblance to her mother. I felt light-headed from the oxygen. The cold ambulance air-conditioning made me think of brisk autumn winds. I knew, if I closed my eyes now, I would be back in the living room with Lana. So, I did close my eyes, for the last time....

Copyright © | Year Posted 2016




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Date: 3/24/2017 4:56:00 PM
Best short story I've read on PoetrySoup! Right on, Tom.
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Date: 9/28/2016 6:37:00 AM
A touching story, a sad and beautiful ending...
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Tom Arnone
Date: 9/28/2016 10:07:00 AM
Thank you, Julie. :-)
Date: 9/14/2016 9:11:00 AM
This is an excellent piece, was scared at a point thou...but glad they are both finally reunited
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Tom Arnone
Date: 9/26/2016 9:45:00 AM
Thank you, Abosede.
Date: 9/7/2016 8:47:00 PM
Great style, Tom, and a great ending, didn't know where it was heading. Good luck in the contest. regards, Viv
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Tom Arnone
Date: 9/7/2016 10:21:00 PM
Thanks, Viv. :-)
Date: 9/7/2016 10:04:00 AM
Superbly done my friend...great write...enjoyed...god bless and good luck in contest...^WW^
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Tom Arnone
Date: 9/7/2016 12:37:00 PM
Thank you, Winged Warrior!
Date: 9/6/2016 10:49:00 PM
wow, Tom, now THAT is ONE GREAT story. I think I enjoy your story telling even more than your poetry. FAVE!
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Tom Arnone
Date: 9/7/2016 12:34:00 PM
So sweet of you -- but, I still want to write a proper English sonnet! ;-)
Date: 9/6/2016 9:57:00 PM
One too many donuts I suppose. Best wishes in the contest...
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Tom Arnone
Date: 9/7/2016 12:33:00 PM
it was more than donuts that killed the beast, Charlie -- it was beauty! ;-)
Date: 9/6/2016 4:52:00 PM
Wonderful Tom!
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Tom Arnone
Date: 9/6/2016 5:25:00 PM
Wonderland was wonderful, too - but, I wouldn't want to live there. Thanks, Michael. :-)