A Last Good-bye
by Susan Sage
Marie worked her rag against the window sill scrubbing and pushing. She picked up a brush and scoured again. How could this be so difficult? She thought herself a good housekeeper. Yet there were the spots!
Gingerly, she stood and did a final wipe, then rubbed her back. Who would have known it would take so much work to clean this little house? With her arm, she wiped across her forehead and eyes, then looked out the wall of windows. That view took her breath away the first time she saw it. And today, it still did.
The tops of tall Ponderosa pine trees swayed with the breeze blowing up from the canyon’s floor. The Manzanitas would soon be filled with berries. She would miss stripping the foliage and using the beautiful red branches to make wreaths for the fall.
A momma coyote rummaged around on the hillside while her pups tumbled over each other sporting for position. In the distance, a group of deer foraged for whatever they could find. They always ate her flowers, but now someone else would fuss at them to no avail.
She turned and looked around the living room and dining room area. Memories danced across her vision—family around the table, Christmas dinners, Thanksgiving turkeys, and so much food they’d needed another side table for the bounty.
The front door opened. “Momma, are you ready?” Jackson stepped from the wainscoted entrance into the great room. He stopped and watched Marie.
“You and Patty grew up here.”
“I know, Momma.”
“Of course you do.” Marie took in a deep breath, “Your father and I loved building this house together. Oh, the work … but you know the stories almost as well as I do.” She drew a tissue from her pocket and blew her nose. “The day we moved in here, we prayed that anyone who came here would sense God’s peace and His presence.”
“That’s exactly what the buyers said after they came, remember?” Jackson wrapped his arms around her five-foot frame. “For such a little woman, you sure knew how to keep me and Patty in line.”
She raised her head and chucked his chin. “Just because you’re so tall, doesn’t mean I’m little.”
“Yes, ma’am.” He kissed the top of her head and released her. “I have your bags in the car. Lindsay and the kids have worked on a special welcome for you at our place.”
Marie straightened her back and looked around the room again. “I guess it’s time. I’ve never liked good-byes, but with your dad—”
“Momma, he wouldn’t want you staying way out here on the hillside all by yourself.”
“Oh, I know, but that doesn’t make it any easier to leave.” With another tissue from her pocket, she wiped her face.
Marie placed the rag and scrub brush into a paper bag. “We can throw this last bag of trash away at your house.”
“Sure. I’ll take the trash and put it in my trunk.”
“Son, there’s one more thing I’d like to do before we leave.”
“What’s that? Though I guess I don’t have to ask.”
“I’d like us to pray as we step out the front door the same way your father and I prayed when we stepped through it these forty years ago.”
“Would you like me to pray?”
“No, if you don’t mind, I’ll do it.”
They held hands and Marie lifted her eyes so she could see out the window one last time.
“‘I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.’ Thank You, Father God that we have been able to look to You for help all the years we’ve lived here. Thank You for the life You gave to Denney and me and to the children You blessed us with. We praise You today for You are always faithful and true. Thank You that You go with me now as this chapter of life is through. In Your name for Your glory. Amen.”
“Amen. You’ve always like that verse in the King James Version.”
“Yes, it’s lyrical and beautiful.”
Jackson picked up the brown bag and stepped outside. He called through the open door, “Momma, the realtor is here to take the keys.”
Marie did one last turn hoping to plant the memory of this place even further into her mind. “God, You met me here. Meet me in the next place.”
She stepped through the door, handed the key to the realtor, and strode to Jackson’s car. “I’m ready, son. On to the next adventure.”
About the Author
New to north Idaho, Susan Sage and her husband are enjoying getting to know the new area. She continues to work on her craft writing about God’s purpose and sovereignty in all aspects of life. She enjoys writing devotionals and flash fiction. She enjoys mentoring other writers who are new to the craft.
Susan was our first monthly columnist at our magazine, which was called Pandora’s Box Gazette at the time. She wrote devotionals for our publication as well in the beginning. This is her last flash fiction column for Mustard Seed Sentinel. We wish her the best in all of her endeavors. God bless, Susan!