Visit from Thanatos

You Never Know When He Comes For You

Once there was this old lady that owned this shop. She had worked there for a long time. Many years ago she had opened the shop with her husband, and would have supported him in any endeavor, provided it made enough sense. Back in those days it was considered quite a rebellious act to go against the status quo and start your own business from scratch, rather than to either follow in your fathers footsteps or to work for a large company. So in that respect, the particular business wasn’t her particular choice, but it had made sense at the time, and had made enough money to live a comfortable life, so she supported him all the way.

He, of course, passed away several years ago from various complications. She had been running the shop on her own for a number of years, due to his growing illness. So it was just natural that when he passed on, she would continue to do so. Sometimes, though, she wondered what would have happened had she not made the choices she did. She did have a decent life, several children, and grandchildren, all grown up and moved out. Having the shop kept her fairly busy, and there were plenty of times she wished that she had husband that had more a traditional business or work, one that wouldn’t require her support. She never shared these thoughts with others, for fear of coming across as ungrateful.

There was another choice, back in the day. When her husband had started courting her, there were also several others, of which only one was a serious contender in any measure. When it had come down to it, had they both proposed, she would have had a hard time deciding, but as things happened, her husband (obviously) was the first to propose, and back in those days, when an eligible suitor proposed, you just didn’t say no.

But she did allow herself to wonder sometimes. What would have happened if? If the other one had asked her first. He was being groomed to take over his fathers business, which was very large and very well established. She would have undoubtedly had a much easier life, and much more time to participate in high society affairs like watching the polo matches and such. But she never allowed herself to think those thoughts for very long, the mind seems to feed upon itself whether you wish you would have done things differently as well as when you appreciate your life for whatever it has brought you.

She was standing there, daydreaming like this, in her shop, when the strange gentlemen entered.

“Afternoon,” he said, tipping his hat. Strange, she thought, men hardly wear hats any more, let alone tip them to lonely old women in shops.
“What can I do for you?” she politely asked.
“Well, let me see,” he said pulling out a list. He looked at it briefly, and then handed it to her.
“Would you by chance have any of these?” he asked pleasantly.
She studied the list.
“Why yes, I think we have all of these items,” She said, leading him through the shop.
“You don’t remember me, do you?” He asked.
She paused, looking at him. He seemed quite young.
“I’m sorry, I can’t say that I do.” She said, more than a little bit curious.
“That’s OK, most people don’t. At least they like to pretend so.”
She wasn’t sure what she meant. She set the basket of items next to the register, and began to ring them up. It was still the same cash register from when the shop originally opened. When she was about halfway finished, he reached out, putting his hand on hers. It was ice cold. She unconsciously recoiled, and then was ashamed for her rudeness.

“I’m sorry, I…” she began.
“It’s ok.” He paused, waiting for her to understand. She looked him in his eyes, which betrayed a confidence and quiet determination well beyond his apparent years.
He reached out, one more and extended his hand. He held his hand as they did back in the day when polo matches were all the rage, and men and women both wore different hats for different occasions.
She understood.

“Is this how it ends?” She asked? More than a little nervous.
“Don’t worry. We’ll be there before you know it.”
“There?” She said, suddenly confused, worried, terror stricken.
“You’ll see.” He said, smiling.

Finally, she reached out, and took his hand.