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A Short Story

Amelia Cooke

Copyright © Joyce Gibbons   All rights reserved.
Published by: JGHawaii Publishing Co., Hawaii, U.S.A.


NOTE:   The following is based on a true story . . . all names, places, etc. have been changed.

"Mom, can I go over Kylie's house?"  Scott asked, as his mother came through the door.

"Wait a second . . . I just got home, let me put these packages down.  Where's your father?"

"In the garage, fixing Beth's bike."

"Okay, you can go, but only for a little while until I fix dinner."   Maggie said, but he was out the door before she finished the sentence.

"Another day, another dollar," sighed Maggie, as she slumped into a chair and kicked off her shoes before propping her feet on the ottoman.  It was a long day at work and to top it all off, her car broke down . . . . again !

She looked at her watch, and judged she had about ten minutes to rest, before starting dinner. Leaning over she picked up the mail she had tossed on the end table when she came in and finding nothing but junk mail, Maggie picked up a magazine and thumbed through it until she saw an interesting article, with the heading: "You can have whatever you want, if you concentrate on it."

"Ha !    If it was that easy, I would have had a new car long ago, instead of driving that old wreck that barely runs," she grumbled, and scanning the article she gasped at the mention of an automobile in it.  Maggie backtracked and began reading the whole article.

It suggested that you try the experiment late in the evening when it is quiet, and you won't be interrupted. You would need a picture of what you plan for the concentration, along with a candle, and a dark room.  It said to prop up the image near the candle.  Then while looking at the picture, for instance a new automobile, you should picture yourself inside  the car, holding the steering wheel, feeling the comfort of the upholstered seats, then relax, and with this thought in mind, switch your attention to the flame of the candle. With your eyes on the flame, begin concentrating on the visionary  picture you create with yourself driving the car through the countryside, or along seaside roads. Then, close your eyes, concentrate on this scene for another few minutes.  Afterwards, blow out the candle, and go to bed. Put the experiment out of your mind, not to think of it ever again. Leave it to the powers-that-be to fulfill it.  In time you will see the success of this experiment.

"Well, I'll try anything if it gets me a car that runs! " she thought.  "Wonder if this magazine has a car for me . . . I might as well think big and pick something that will be good for the whole family and roomy enough for vacations." Maggie turned the pages of the magazine until she found some advertisements of new cars.

She stopped at a page with a comfortable looking station wagon in a periwinkle blue color.  "Ah, that's the one! " Maggie exclaimed, and tore the picture out of the magazine.

Her husband, Nick, walked in just then.  He leaned over kissed her on the cheek and looked at the picture.

"Hi Hon, what are you doing . . . is dinner almost ready?"

"What do you think? Nice car, huh? And no, dinner is not almost ready. I'm just going to start it now, Nick." she said, holding out her hand so he could help her up out of the chair.

"Okay, but don't forget, it's Friday.  I'm suppose to go bowling this evening." he said, looking at his watch.

"Oh !   That's right."  Maggie said, as she hurried to the kitchen.  "I'll have it ready in a half-hour.  Call Beth and Tammy. They can help me."

"Sure. They're in their room on the computer . . . and I don't think it's their homework they're doing." he chuckled and headed for the girls' bedroom.

Later that night, when the children were in bed, and Nick was still out with his friends, Maggie went to her room, and carrying the picture of the car, she picked up a candle from the dresser and put them both on the night stand.  After taking a shower and changing into her nightgown, she set up the items according to the magazine.

When she was through with the experiment, Maggie felt that she had given it her best shot at concentrating on that beautiful blue station wagon.  She curled up in bed, and after such a long hard day, she fell right to sleep.

Maggie, woke the next morning, stretched and turned over to put her arm across Nick.  The bed was empty. Yawning, she got up, pulled on her robe, and went to the kitchen to put on a pot of coffee, before starting breakfast.

Good thing it was Saturday.  She didn't have to hassle the kids to get ready for school, and she'd  let them sleep late today. Opening the living room blinds, Maggie looked at the driveway expecting to see her car and Nick's  sports car parked next to it. But only her car was there.

Maggie began to get an uneasy feeling something was wrong. She went back to the kitchen and poured a cup of coffee and thought of whether to call one of  his friends or wait a while longer.  It wouldn't be the first time Nick stayed out all night without calling her to say he wouldn't be home.  He always had that irresponsible streak in him.

She picked up the cup and wandered into the living room to stand by the window.  It wasn't long before she saw a car pull up outside and park at the curb. The car had an insignia on the side of it.  From here, Maggie couldn't read what it said, but when the man got out, carrying a briefcase and headed toward her door, she felt her stomach turn over and her hand trembled as she reached for the doorknob when he knocked.

The man smiled sadly, and handed her his card and asked to come it.  Maggie, confused, stood aside and as he entered, she looked at the card. It had an official insignia, which she realized was the same as on the car, and reading it, she gasped . . . "County Coroner's Office"

"Nick?  Is it Nick?"   she asked before her knees started to give out.  The Coroner took hold of her arm and helped her to a chair.

"I'm sorry, Ma'am, but it happened late last night. He had a heart attack at a friend's house. It was over before the ambulance arrived. I was called in, and  when everything was accomplished I came directly here.

"No   There must be a mistake !     It might not have been Nick ! "    Maggie said shaking her head.

He opened his briefcase and handed her Nick's wallet and his glasses.   "These are his, aren't they?"

"Ohhh, Nick."  she whispered, clutching  the glasses that Nick always wore.   He never took them off because he couldn't see an arm's length in front of him without them.

"Let me call someone for you.   Do you have parents or someone close?"

"M-my sister," she said, telling him the telephone number as she rocked on the chair holding the glasses.

Maggie looked up and saw her three children standing in the doorway looking scared.    She wiped her eyes, and put on a brave front to comfort them.

Before she finished talking to them, her sister rushed in the door.   She gave Maggie a hug and after taking  in the situation, went to talk to the Coroner.  They talked quietly for a few minutes about arrangements to be made before he left.

From the minute he walked out the door, Maggie's whole life had changed.   Nothing was the same for any of them. Maggie was in a daze the week of the funeral, and afterwards, she began rearranging her life and the chrildrens now that she was a single parent.

It was about six months later that things began to develop into a new routine, and now that school was out for the summer, Maggie decided to take the children on a vacation to the nearby lake.

It didn't take long for her kids to agree, so they made plans to camp out.  While they were getting the things packed, Maggie got the house in order, so when she returned, everything would be nice and clean.

An hour later, as she straightened up the clutter on the coffee table and end tables, she knocked a magazine onto the floor. Leaning over to pick it up, she noticed it was the same magazine she had been reading the night Nick died. With a cry of alarm, Maggie dropped the magazine again, and ran to the window.

Where months ago, her old car sat next to Nick's in the driveway,  there was parked, gleaming in the sunlight, a new blue station wagon . . . . a replica of the one in the picture she had torn out of the magazine.

Standing there, she began to remember all that had happened in the last months. She had been reading that magazine article, and after Nick left later that evening, she tried the experiment with the picture and candle. Until this moment she had put that out of her mind as it suggested.  So much confusion after his death, she never gave it another thought.

It was a few days after his death that his friends brought home Nick's little sports car.  After one look at it, Maggie didn't want to have it around to remind her how much he loved the car. They offered to take it away and sell it for her and give her what they made on it. That money, along with Nick's life insurance policy, helped to bring her financial situation back to a manageable level.  It was after everything was taken care of that Maggie found there was enough left over to buy a new car . . . and at the car lot she stopped at, this station wagon was in the first row of cars for sale at a year-end discount price. Without thinking any more about it, except that it was practical and within her budget she purchased it.

Maggie leaned her head against the window, while tears rolled down her cheek as she thought that  her husband's death was caused by a fateful experiment.

*** The End ***


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