“I don’t know if I’m hungry.”
“A healthy breakfast is important.”
Mike tilted his head and looked questioningly.
“It is important for you to be healthy, Mike. I’ve already started you on a regimen of exercise. It is important that you eat well too.”
“Alright then.” He got up and made his way to the shower.
True to her word and her name, Patience was waiting patiently with a piece of whole wheat toast and a glass of grapefruit-pineapple juice.
“What now?” he asked as he ate.
“You have to work today,” Patience replied. “We will go to the gym for our workout later.”
It was Mike’s last day of the school year. He had already packed away everything that needed to be packed, so all he really had to do was show up and wait for the principal to check him out. By eleven, he was done. He had walked to school, and he walked back home to find Patience at the door in a tight pair of red shorts and a white spaghetti tank. He had a small salad for lunch, and then they went to the gym.
“Are we going to exercise every day over the summer?” Mike asked on the way.
“Five times a week.”
Time at the gym went quickly and Mike suffered only a small amount of discomfort from his stomach. Afterwards, as they drove home, Mike asked Patience to stop at the cemetery.
“I promised Tiffany that I would stop by every week, but I haven’t been there in months. Of course, she was dead when I promised her, so it’s not like she heard me.”
Patience pulled the car into the cemetery gate and drove around at Mike’s direction until they reached the southeast corner, where the green of the grass met the tan of the surrounding desert. Mike climbed out and walked to the marker at the head of his wife’s grave. The marker was covered with bits of grass from the last time the lawn was mowed, as well as bits of dirt. He knelt down and brushed it off. Tiffany Louise Smith 1984-2021, little enough to sum up a lifetime. 2021! Could it really be eleven years? That didn’t seem possible.
“Who is buried here?” asked Patience.
Mike looked up. A few feet from Tiffany’s grave was another. Affixed to the flat grave marker was an upright statue, about a foot tall, of an angel, a little girl with wings, wearing a nightgown and holding a flower in her left hand, her right hand raising a handkerchief to her eye.
“Some poor little child.”