Visits by Emily Bebenek

Mrs. Finnegan opened the door as quickly as she could, but at her age that took a while. Daisy knew to wait patiently and allow her to do it herself —the last time that she had interfered to help, the old lady fussed and declared that she was perfectly able to do things on her own.

“Daisy!” Mrs. Finnegan exclaimed, opening the screen door with shaking hands. “My, it has been a while, hasn’t it?”

Daisy smiled and took the old woman’s hand to lead her back to her rocking chair. “I was here just last week, Mrs. Finnegan.”

“Yes, dear, but that’s such a long time.” Mrs. Finnegan moved to sit down, grasping Daisy’s arm for support. “I miss our talks. Even my friends don’t gossip as well as you do.”

Daisy laughed, taking the seat next to her. “I can assure you, my gossiping cannot be worse than my mother’s. That woman could twist a mosquito bite into a scandal.”

Mrs. Finnegan chuckled and patted her hand. “Your mother was always that way, I can tell you that. I remember when Richard and I used to babysit her—she would come up with all sorts of stories to entertain us with.” She looked around as though just remembering something important. “Dear, have you seen Richard? I could have sworn he was around here somewhere.”

Daisy’s grin tightened a little. “Oh, um, I think he went to the grocery store or something.”
“Did he now?” Mrs. Finnegan looked satisfied. “I’ve been begging him to go for ages. My, that man is stubborn as they come. Reminds me of you.” She gave Daisy a knowing look.
Daisy smiled almost nervously and said nothing.

“Daisy, darling, you know how much I love talking to you, but was there something you needed?”

Daisy startled a little. “Oh, yes. My mother wants to know if you want to come over for coffee sometime tomorrow.”

“Why, I’d love to,” Mrs. Finnegan said happily. “Tell her to call me this evening with a time.”

“Will do, Mrs. Finnegan.” They stood and hugged one another. Just as Daisy was turning to leave, Mrs. Finnegan called out, “Is Richard invited as well or is it just us girls?”

Daisy looked slightly sad as she responded with a wry grin, “Just you girls.”

“Wonderful,” Mrs. Finnegan declared.

“Yeah, wonderful,” Daisy repeated.

She exited the house and gently closed the door behind her. Straying off of the path home, she stopped in front of an old oak tree and bent to examine something at the base of it. Her fingers brushed a weathered grave reading RICHARD DAVID FINNEGAN BELOVED HUSBAND.

As she stood upright, a single tear dropped down her face as she started the long walk home, assuring herself that ignorance was bliss.

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Emily Bebenek is a senior at Mountain Brook High School. She lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with the actual cutest dog ever. She loves reading, writing, and–strangely enough—public speaking.
Accompanying photo: “Library of Scents” by Alex Garrow