An old lady slowly walked up the pathway leading
up to the biggest house on the street. Her left foot dragged
slightly behind, her ragged attire and tired face told a story
nobody knew. She adjusted her straw hat to block the sun and sat
down on the stone bench along the pathway. The dark red brick
house towered over her, baseball equipment lay scattered on the
neatly manicured lawn. She sat there as if she was waiting for
someone, she looked around curiously. But the reason she was
there was yet to be known.
"Mom." Said a boy in the house. "Some old lady is
sitting on our bench." The old lady turned to look at the house
and smiled at the boy peaking out through the window. "She smiled
"She's probably just resting, probably on a
walk." The mother yelled back.
"Not to judge her or anything but she doesn't
look like the kind of person to go on walks, more like begging
The young mother walked up to the window, dish
towel and glass in hand. As she pulled back the curtain, she
gasped, nearly dropping the glass in her hand.
"Tyler, why don't you go finish your homework."
"I don't have homework."
"Then go read. Put this glass in the kitchen on
your way upstairs." The boy groaned and did as told. The mother
put down the towel and quietly snuck out the door and walked out
to the bench.
"Mom, what are you doing here?"
The old lady looked up, squinting in the sun.
"I've come to visit my grandson. I saw him
practicing his baseball earlier while I was walking with Mary
Delacour and I thought I should visit him today, introduce
myself." The old lady gave a sour look at her daughter when she
was done speaking.
"I'm not letting you see him. Look at you, mom!
You're a mess!"
"Maggie, what did I do to be completely isolated
from my grandson?" The old lady's voice was shaky. "Is it because
I didn't let you run off with that Harrison boy?"
"Don't you mom me Maggie. I might be 75 but I am
still the same person I was 30 years ago! I didn't let you run
off with that boy for a reason, I was protecting you. You were in
love with him, I knew that, but if I let you off with him I knew
it would end up bad. I held you off till you graduated from
Harvard Law and married that stupid boy behind my back. Now look
at you. You're divorced raising at ten year old in a house that
has rooms you don't even use! You're selfish Maggie, you have
been since you were a teenager. Do you know what your father's
dying wish was?"
"For you to take care of me."
"He died three months ago ma, for all I know you
could be making this up. What do you need? Money?"
The old lady pulled out a piece of paper from her
"It's part of an official document that your
father stated his dying wish."
Maggie took the paper and scanned over it.
"Read it, out loud."
"My dying wish is for my daughter, Maggie Ann
Armani Harrison, to take care of my wife, Margret Amy Poteli
Armani. I also wish for my wife to meet our grandson, Tyler John
Harrison." Maggie folded the paper and handed it back. "Did Dad
"Oh come on Maggie, how could he? He was
paralyzed from the stroke. We had a lawyer do it."
Maggie rubbed her temples, she could feel tension
"I don't have time for this mom. I've got stuff
to do, places to go!" Maggie started walking away.
"Maggie?" The old lady stood up.
"You'll regret this.
"Regret what ma?"
"This life decision you made. But I want you to
know something, I will always love you."
"Ya ok, go play bingo with your friends."
Disappointment ran through the old lady, she had
hoped to win her daughter over. Hoped to get the truth out from
her. She knew she got married as a sophomore at Harvard. She knew
her grandson was really 13. She was a mother, and mothers know
everything. The old lady sat back down on the bench to compose
herself. It hurt her to have all those years full of love and
compassion mean nothing to her daughter, all those years adding
up for nothing.
"Good Afternoon Mrs. Armani."
"Hello there Tony, and please call me Margret."
"Sure thing." The seventeen year old set down the
Sunday paper. "Does Ms. Harrison know you're here?"
"Well, isn't she going to invite you in. After all, you are her
"No. Tony, do me a favor."
"Anything for you Mrs. Armani."
"Never break your mothers heart."
"Well what kind of son would I be if I broke my
"A bad one." Margret smiled up at Tony; it was
one of her happy smiles. Instead it was overcome with sadness and
"Would you like me to walk you home Mrs. Armani?"
"I would love that." Margret grabbed Tony's arm,
slightly tugging on his blue collar uniform. Tony walked slowly
and patiently as they walked down the street.
Ring Ring Ring Ring…..
"Hello?" Maggie answered, her voice
tired. She glanced at the clock; it was three thirty in the
"Hi, Mrs. Harrison?"
"This is Dr. Palomino from Woodridge Hospital.
Your mother was brought in, she had a heart attack. You were the
only family member we could track-"
"No, that's ok. I'll be right over." Maggie hung
up the phone, she couldn't think straight. A million thoughts
running through her head. Where were her keys? Maggie turned in
circles till she found her keys in the pocket of her jacket then
ran out the door to her car.
It was freezing outside. Winter was coming, in
fact it was already here. Maggie's eyes were dried out, her
fingers numb as she gripped the steering wheel tight.
"I'm such a monster." She thought to herself. "To
just ignore my mother like that! She gave me life and I treated
her like some beggar living on the street. I treated her so
badly, for what? For being a mother? I'm so cold-hearted. I knew
she didn't fancy Tom, but she knew I loved him. I lied to her. I
lied about when her grandson was really born."
The guilty thoughts kept on flooding Maggie's
head, putting more guilty weight on her shoulders.
Maggie ran up to the nurse's station.
"I'm looking for Margret Armani."
A young doctor looked up at the sound of
"Maggie Harrison?" he asked as he approached
Maggie. Maggie looked up.
"I'm Dr. Palomino, I'm taking care of your
"Oh good, how is she?"
Dr. Palomino shifted his weight. "Not good." He
said out flatly. He led Maggie by the hand to a table and chairs
then took a seat. "Right now a ventilator is keeping her alive.
The heart attach caused so much critical damage, there's nothing
we can do about it."
Maggie sat there shocked, the busy rush of the
hospital continued all around her; beeping machines, rhythmic
thumps fro wheelchairs, the cries of pain.
"Is……..are you sure there is nothing you can do?"
"I would of already done it if there was
something possible to help her." The man was honest, full of
heart. "I know this is hard, but I think it's her time to go.
She's living by machine, her heart isn't functioning."
Maggie stared at the brown and white checked
floor. She barely managed to make out her words. "Where is she?"
Dr. Palomino led Maggie to her mother's room. She
was covered in all types of tubes with fluid dripping down them,
complicated monitors surrounding the bed. Maggie sat down and
watched her mother lay there. Beauty and youth framed her
mother's face, her grey thin bob was pushed back out of her face.
"Mom, I don't know if you can hear me and I know
these words will never be enough to apologize for all of the
stuff I've done to you and dad. All of the pain I caused, those
sleepless nights and tears running down your cheeks. I'm sorry
mom. I was stupid and to ignorant to open my eyes and realize
that you were doing your job. I lied to you mom. Tyler's 13. I
knew you would be so disappointed in me. Tom and I got married
during my sophomore year at Harvard. I'm so sorry mom for the
hostility I showed, the selfishness. I can't use words to explain
how sorry I am mom."
Maggie sat there sobbing. Her body shaking
uncontrollably wishing for those wasted years to come back.
"I broke your heart and I'm ashamed of it. I will
live with this guilt forever. I want those years back. All those
times that I slammed the door in your face, all those times I
told you off. I'm a bad person, a bad daughter and I deserve
this. You don't. You tried to protect me, but I didn't listen. I
love you mom.
Maggie gave a long look at her mother. A life
story was etched across her face, both happy and sad.
"I love you." Maggie whispered one last time.
Maggie sadly nodded her head, not looking up, and Dr. Palomino
shut off the machine that held her mother's life. Margret's
breathing got slower and slower as the seconds passed