Monday Morning Writers Group

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Rich Wiley

Howard turned on the shower knowing it would take at least three minutes to raise to the desired temperature. He walked back to his bedroom and stepped out of his pajamas, donned his robe and strolled back to the bathroom. Steam was gathering from behind the glass shower door. He looked at the large mirror in front of him and wondered where that truly physically fit body he had possessed years ago had fled too. Now the mirror reflected back the physic of an 80 year old man with numerous health problems.

He thought of how he lost his wife to cancer two years ago and struggled with living alone. Their children were grown and had their own families. Each lived in neighboring states and he was lucky to see them once a year or talk with them once a month.

Howard stuck his hand in and felt the shower spray. “Aw, just right,” he said aloud. He often talked to himself. One hand on the tile shower wall and the other holding onto the shower enclosure, he lifted his leg over the tubs outer rim and stepped in, he let the stream of water cascade over his head and body. It was a soothing feeling that he enjoyed.

The soap and shampoo bottle rested on the shelf above his shoulders. He didn’t have a great amount of hair, kind of a Friar Tuck look now. After he had finished shampooing, he grabbed the soap and applied it to his whole body. He took a step toward the shower head and his feet went out from underneath him. His attempt to reach out for anything to lessen his fall was fruitless as his soapy-slippery body banged against the bottom of the tub. He heard a pop and he was keenly aware that he had broken something.

The pain shot through his body like a missile. He could see the water breaking up the blood drops that were coming from the back of his head. Howard didn’t remember hitting it, however everything happened so fast it was like a blur. His whole body seemed to be on fire. His leg was doubled up underneath him and he was unable to straighten it out.

Each time he tried to move it caused so much pain he would cry out. There wasn’t any phone near by and his call for help couldn’t be heard. He knew he was in deep trouble. He lay there with the water that had now turned to barely warm was running over him. He was trying to think of some way to help himself. He couldn’t reach anything that would give him support.

The bathroom door was closed and his throat was hoarse from screaming. He tried to move his leg again, the pain was unbearable. Tears were running down his cheeks and he thought this is how I’m going to die. Howard decided to give up and wait for his death. What was that constant buzzing sound?

Then he heard a voice. “Howard, Howard, you old fool, wake up and shut off that dreadful alarm.” He opened his eyes, reached out smacked the off button to the alarm.

“Oh my God, it was only a dream; but it was so real.”

“Get yourself going, the kids will be here in an hour. They want to talk to you about getting a medical alert button to wear around your neck, for any emergency,” his wife said.

“That’s a good idea,” he thought. He jumped out of bed with a smile on his face, as if he had been given a second chance.