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MUSED Literary Magazine.


Ruth Z. Deming

She was one of those women who did everything right. She taught yoga at the Hollywood Fitness Spa. She told her students, “We’re not getting any younger, but yoga is the best way to preserve our aging bodies.”

“Breathe in, breathe out.”

As a mother of four, she had no need of men, and was happiest without them. She could do what she wanted without asking anyone for permission.

“Permission!” Thank heavens those days were gone.

Autumn was on its way and she needed a few new outfits. Warm sweaters, a new pair of jeans that would show her shapely figure – no one would guess she would be 74 on Christmas day – and one of those sweater-jackets a few of her students had.

She backed out the driveway of her brick ranch, where she had raised her four children. Her husband, Alex, had let himself go – a big paunch from drinking too much beer – and died of a heart attack at Romeo’s Bar.

She was both sorry and glad it had happened.

She walked into Bloomingdale’s marveling at how good it felt to walk. Her head was lifted high, as she walked through the perfume department, then the men’s department – had Alex been alive, she would have bought him a red flannel shirt – and went up the escalator to the women’s department.

Soft music played in the distance. “Love is a many-splendored thing” followed by “Chances Are,” by Johnny Mathis.

Escalators were so amazing, she thought, looking at the steps coming and then vanishing.

Was it her imagination or was she feeling a twinge in her left foot.

Good, it was gone.

As she was rifling through the various types of jeans they offered – weren’t there any plain ones? – maybe she should have gone to Chico’s – the pain came again.

This time it was crippling pain. Absolutely excruciating. What on earth?

She drove herself to the emergency room.

X-rays showed she had broken four bones in her left foot.

The physician on call said, “This often happens to women your age. The bones lose their density. Do you have a history of falling or diabetes?”

“Certainly not,” she snapped.

“We’ll fix you up with a temporary cast and then you’ll be good to go. Please have someone pick you up. Driving is forbidden until your bones heal.”

She called her eldest daughter who arrived shortly.

“Honey,” she said. “I’m perfectly fine to drive.”

“You sure, Mom?”

“Absolutely,” she said. “Just drive me to the parking lot and I’ll drive home.”

She and her daughter kissed goodbye.

She got into her car. Thankfully, the breakage was on her left foot. She stared at the temporary blue cast. Plaster was no longer used.

She drove back to Bloomingdale’s, went up the escalator to the second floor, and finished her shopping. She did limp a little, but the pain was gone.