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I Wait for You

Story ID:5672
Written by:Michael Timothy Smith (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Fiction
Location:Caldwell Idaho USA
Year:2009
Person:Evelyn
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I entered in the Writers Weekly 24-Hour Short Story Contest this weekend.
Below is the topic and requirements, followed
by my entry.
I'd love your comments.
Mike

TODAY'S TOPIC!

~~~~~

From her lap, his shiny black eyes stared up at her as she admired his permanent red
smile. Fingering his tiny overalls, she pictured the little ones' faces, pressed against the
icy windowpanes, waiting for her to arrive with another basket of her lifelike, homemade
gifts. The last strand of hair was finally in place. As she gently inserted the needle to tie a
knot, he lurched in her hand and a high-pitched voice said...

~~~~~

WORD COUNT: Stories for today's topic must not exceed 900
words. (Your story's title is *not* included in the word
count. We use MSWord's word count function to determine the
final word count for submissions.)

I Wait For You

After her husband died, Evelyn was lost. The house was empty. She missed her
John-John, as she used to playfully call him. The wind howled. Snow and ice hit the
windows with such force, it sounded like marbles stored in an old tin cookie box. These
were the nights she and John-John would sit by the fire and play scrabble. Later they
would cuddle under the covers and hold each other to stay warm.

The cancer struck hard and fast. John lasted three pain-filled months. She
remembered his last words, “Ev, I love you and promise to take care of you.” His chemo-
ravaged body gave out that night.

Evelyn sighed. There would be no more cuddling. All she had were the dolls she
made for the children at the orphanage in Caldwell. It was a hobby she took up to pass
the time after John-John died. She was surprised to find she was very good at it. Besides
the ones she gave to the children, she also made a nice income selling others at craft fairs.

She picked up an unfinished doll and began to work as the storm pounded the
house. From her lap, his shiny black eyes stared up at her as she admired his permanent
red smile. Fingering his tiny overalls, she pictured the little ones' faces, pressed against
the icy windowpanes, waiting for her to arrive with another basket of her lifelike,
homemade gifts. The last strand of hair was finally in place. As she gently inserted the
needle to tie a knot, he lurched in her hand and a voice, eerily like John-John’s, said,
“Blood pressure high! Blood pressure high!”

Startled, Evelyn jumped back against the sofa with enough force, had she been in
a chair, she surely would have tipped it over and cracked her head on the floor. The doll
flew from her hands and landed on the rug by the fire. It was silent now, but from its
resting spot, its black eyes stared at her.

Evelyn approached the doll. She reached for it like a person who holds out a
hand to an unfamiliar dog – unsure if it will bite or lick. A gust of wind shook the house.
Evelyn jumped back. She laughed at herself. To prove her courage, if only to herself, she
quickly grabbed up the doll and stared into its eyes. It remained silent and unmoving in
her hands.

She quickly sewed the last strand of hair in place and put the finished doll on
the mantel. This one she wouldn’t give away. She made a cup of tea and wondered if she
was losing her mind. “Blood pressure high!” It had said. Now that she thought about it,
she had been feeling that rushing feeling in her head lately. “Tomorrow, I’m going to the
doctor.” she said to herself.

Dr. Bryant stared at her with concern. “Evelyn, your blood pressure is 197/127?
Do you realize, if you hadn’t come in, you very likely would have had a stroke. I should
send you to the emergency room, but first I’m going to give you a prescription. I want
you back here in a few days for a follow up.”

That night, Evelyn sat with the doll in her lap. “Maybe my blood pressure made
me imagine things, but I think you saved my life.”

Two years passed. Evelyn went on with her lonely life. She worked during the
day and made dolls in the evening. The one doll she couldn’t give away sat on the
mantel. She often took it down and held it, but it was silent – until this night. As she read
a book, the doll, resting in her lap, jumped to life, “Check the Lump! Check the lump!” it
cried with its all-to-familiar “John-John” voice.

In the silent room, the voice startled her. The doll fell to the floor and was silent.
She knew what she had to do. The next day Dr. Bryant discovered a small lump in her
right breast. It was caught in time.

One time Evelyn’s aunt Bess visited. Evelyn came from the kitchen with a tray
of coffee and snacks. Aunt Bess held the doll. “This one is beautiful, Evelyn. How come
you …” The crash of the tray hitting the floor cut her off.

“Don’t touch that!” Evelyn screamed. She grabbed the doll from Bess. “I mean …
well … it’s not finished yet.”

“Goodness sakes, girl! I wasn’t going to break it.” Bess said. “It’s just a doll.”

“I’m sorry, Aunt Bess. I guess this one means a lot to me.”

That night, after Bess left for home, Evelyn held the doll. This time she didn’t
jump when it came to life and said, “Cancer eats!”

Aunt Bess was dead from pancreatic cancer four months later.

Evelyn lived to be 92 years old. During the last forty years, the doll saved her
from another round of breast cancer, a heart blockage, and kidney infection. It knew
her father would die from a heart attack, and her brother from liver failure.

On August 5, 2009, Evelyn held the doll in her aged hands. It came to life
and said, “I wait for you, Ev.”

They found her in the morning, sitting by the fire, with the doll in her lap, and a
smile on her face.

“Bless her heart.” Her niece said. “At
least she died happy.”

Michael T. Smith

Word Count: 900