A Short Story by Maryetta Ackenbom
Such a fine concert. Julia sat in her recliner, pushed it back and let the good feeling of the evening soak in. She needed to get up in a few minutes and get ready for bed, but she couldn’t let go of the evening, not yet.
Since she had given up her driver’s license a few years ago, when she turned 80, she depended on friends to take her to the musical events she loved so much. She couldn’t go often while Albert was alive. He demanded her full attention, all the time. Life had been hard with him. Even when he wasn’t drinking, he was demanding and abusive. But when he died, just after she had given up her driver’s license, she was free to do what she loved, if she could find friends willing to take her. She felt she was lucky to have the freedom, and the physical ability at her advanced age, to enjoy the cultural events in the city.
Now she had a steady ride every week to the symphony. It didn’t matter what was playing. She preferred the old classics, but anything would do. If it was a modern piece, with that awful cacophony, at least it was interesting. And she was with friends, which was another activity that she had been deprived of with Albert.
She looked around her large bedroom. It had been difficult to limit herself to one room when she turned over her house to her son, but it was necessary. Albert had not left her enough money to live on, and she had to make some arrangement with the house, her only valuable asset. Fortunately, John was looking for a place to live and loved the old house. He guaranteed her an allowance every month for the rest of her life, and he moved into the house with his wife and three teen-age children.
Even though Julia did not get along well with her daughter-in-law, she now had a decent life, better than the life she shared for so many years with Albert. The bedroom was comfortable and big enough to act as a sitting room. John had given her the use of the entire downstairs, but after a few months of running into family members busily leading their hectic lives, she stayed in her room most of the time. Her daughter-in-law’s cook took good care of her, bringing meals to her room.
Julia closed her eyes and remembered the concert, the strong chords of Beethoven, the sweet melody of Brahms. It was so pleasant. I am so content right now. What if I just let go?
Comfortable in her recliner, she did that. She let go of the life she had been holding onto so strongly. Now that her life was good, she could release it.