Tuesday, July 07, 2009
When Ron was Clean
“I knew a man from another world once,” said Eleanor Wellbright as Nurse Pritchard checked her temperature and her pulse. “Ronald,” his name was, and he loved me dearly.”
“Oh yes?” the nurse stuck the thermometer in her ear and took a reading. “What happened to him then?”
“He had to leave, sudden, like.” Eleanor’s face fell. “Heartbroken, I was.”
“Bit of a Jack-the-lad, was he?” She discarded the rubber end and dropped the instrument in her top pocket. She caught Eleanor’s wrist as it hovered by the octogenarian’s mouth and counted the pulses, looking at her watch.
“Oh no, nothing like that. He loved me you see. Took me to Millennium Point and we got a pint of shrimp from the seafood van. We spent an hour feeding each other by hand.” Eleanor sighed. “Best night of my life, that was. He proposed to me but the door to the other world dragged him away before I could say yes.”
“Lucky escape, if you ask me.”
“But I don’t, dear. I don’t ask you at all. You probably think I’m off my rocker, but I often wonder what would have happened if I’d said yes sooner and gone with him.”
“You’d be divorced with seven kids by now,” said the nurse, noting the readings on a chart.”
“I don’t think so.” Eleanor smiled. “I remember his parting words. I know he would never have forgotten me.”
“What did he say?” Nurse Pritchard was interested in spite of herself.
“Eleanor!” he said. “Millennium hand and Shrimp.” *
*in homage to pTerry