🙂 Tuesday = #Blogbattle
#BlogBattle is a weekly short story challenge using a single word for inspiration. Hosted by the talented Rachael Ritchey. Feel free to join in, or click here to read the current week’s stories and vote for your favorites.
This Week’s Word: Hazel
The Trip of a Lifetime
Even though Michael and Nita own their Hair Salon together, and see each other every day, they sometimes meet outside of work to catch up or just hang out.
Michael has been away for a couple of days, his Aunt Hazel recently passed away. He was summoned by her lawyer, for the reading of her will. He was saddened when he heard the news of her passing, he has so many fond memories of long summer evenings spent with her, just sitting on her back porch talking until the lightning bugs came out. Even on the hottest of days, they sat and drank coffee, and snacked on Sara Lee Coffee Cake. She would bring out the flavored coffee creamers whenever she had company, calling herself fancy. But never once did she have Hazelnut Coffee Cream.
One day Michael asked her about it, “Why don’t you ever have Hazelnut Coffee Cream?”
Shaking her head she says “Because it offends me.”
Trying not to laugh, “How can it offend you? You mean it doesn’t agree with you?”
More adamant, she replied, “No. That’s the name I was teased with as a kid. I refuse to have such a thing in my house, let alone drink it.”
He smiles at the memories, and continues his drive home. It’s amazing how drastically life can change in the blink of an eye.
About an hour from home, he calls Nita. He wants to talk to her without the interruptions of a busy day.
“Hey, I’m on my way back, let’s meet somewhere to grab something to eat. I want to tell you all about my trip.”
“Ok great, I just found this wonderful new sub shop, called Firehouse Subs, it’s decorated like a firehouse, and was actually founded by fireman.”
“Ohhhh sounds delicious.”
“Michael, they’re just subs. It’s in the strip mall on 119th Street. What time should I meet you there?”
“I can be there in an hour. Oh, and Nita, I wasn’t talking about the subs. Bye!!” he disconnects the call with a smile on his face.
As they walk up to the sub shop, Michael reads the sign on the door aloud, “Founded by Fireman, Ohhh that’s fun, I hope we run into some. I mean literally run into them.” He turns his head and nods as he looks at Nita and opens the door.
Giving him a playful push through the door, “Oh my god Michael, behave.” Nita says shaking her head.
After taking far too long to decide what he wanted to order, they finally get their food and find a table and sit down.
“So tell me all about your trip.”
“Well. The ride down is always nice, the weather was gorgeous, I was cruising in my ‘stang with the top down, and the tunes cranked up, the wind in my hair and not a care in the world.” He dramatically says as he looks off into the distance.
“Michael” Nita startles him out of his reverie. “How about you get to the part about meeting the lawyer.” She nods her head with a smile as she takes a bite of her sandwich.
He clutches his chest and laments, “You wound me with your harshness.”
With a dramatic eye roll, Nita takes another bite of her sandwich.
“Fine. I was getting to that part anyway. It seems that dear Aunt Hazel had a secret. Pfsh, like I didn’t already know.” He gave a dismissive wave of his hand.
“Really?” With eyes wide and eyebrows raised.
Michael knowingly nods his head and hands her an envelope, “The lawyer said he was instructed by my aunt to inform me of my inheritance, and then give me this letter to read. Here, read it for yourself.”
Nita wipes her hands on a napkin and reaches over to take the envelope. She pulls a folded letter from it and begins to read it to herself.
My Dearest Michael –
Surprised? I can just picture you now, your mouth wide open, and you frantically fanning yourself like you are about to pass out. Close your mouth, and calm down, no need getting all verklempt.
I’ve spent my whole life trying to make everyone happy by doing what was expected of me, and what was right. I have decided that in my passing, I will finally do what I want. You and your mother are the only family I have left. Well, there is actually someone else. There always has been someone else, and I think you already knew that. She is the other beneficiary.
Being neighbors for so many years, and then young widowers for many more, Rose and I formed a bond that went beyond friendship. Our husband’s life insurance policies paid off our houses, and left us enough money to live a comfortable life. Together we invested wisely, and multiplied what we had. We had a good life together, and we were very happy.
She adores you, she remembers all the conversations we all had talking about traveling and seeing the world. That is what I want for you Michael. I have watched you live your life to the fullest, not caring what anyone thinks of you or your choices. I want you to use this inheritance to travel and see the world. I want you to be happy. Please resist the urge to put this money into your business. You are smart as a whip and a damn good hair stylist, your business will be just fine.
One final request. Please look after Rose for me, and be sure to send her a postcard from all the far away lands you visit.
“Wow Michael, that is wonderful!! When is your first trip? Where is your first trip?” truly excited for him.
“Well. Before I left, I went to visit Rose. We had a nice visit. Turns out, her granddaughter is having one of those destination weddings in Hawaii. Rose didn’t want to travel alone, so she thought she would miss it.” He lifted his shoulder in a half shrug, “I suggested that I be her plus one. The wedding is in December.” Thinking nothing of it, he takes a bite of his sandwich, then looks up at Nita.
She is just staring at him with a huge smile on her face.
“What?” He questions.
“Michael!! You are simply the best.” She says with admiration.
“Yeah, I know…it’s a gift.” He replies with a smirk.
Nita wads up a napkin and throws it at him. Shaking her head, she smiles and rolls her eyes.
© 2016 Carrie Ann