Empty chairs

The dead room

An aged man is but a paltry thing, a tattered coat upon a stick.’ — W.B. Yeats

An elderly man lives alone in a bungalow in Upstate New York.

An old friend halfway across the world sends him an email, acknowledging the elderly man’s wife’s birthday in two days. His wife died four days before Christmas of a brain hemorrhage. They had been together for thirty-four years. The elderly man has no surviving immediate family.

The old friend ends the email with this one word: Grim.

The elderly man (feeling—shame on him!—particularly sorry for himself that day) replies:

I am aware. And on that day, just like every other day, I will be alone in this hovel without her. No one will phone and no one will ‘drop in’ since I have no friends here. My wife was my whole life. I will sit in a chair in a room outside the ‘dead’ room with this last image of her sitting in her armchair in the former living room:



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