Gladys sipped at her jasmine and honey tea. The steam moistened her nose and she relished the warmth spreading into her chest. Her joints were stiff from the unseasonable cold last night. Her son, Timothy said that she shouldn’t leave the door open. That her arthritis would get worse. That she should just move out to Arizona and stay in the guest house in the back yard – if you could call a plot of sand, rock, and cactus a yard. She didn’t own much as it was and it would be good to change her scenery.
But Gladys likes it here. The salty taste of the ocean air, the bright mist of the morning, even the glisten on her bathroom tiles in the cool of sunset. Though she can hardly walk without her cane, she goes every afternoon to the smoothie and sandwich bar two blocks away. All the kids with their tans and wheels and bare stomachs make her smile. They are so carefree and colorful. The way she and Frank used to be. Youth in her day weren’t quite so immodest nor were they in such a rush. But they did have their fun. The small hotel where they used to dance became a spa and exercise facility a few years back but the old Deco sign still says ‘Flamingo’.
Gladys stepped out onto the balcony, making every effort not to disturb his chair. He hated when she moved it. She raised the near empty mug to her lips once again, the smooth ceramic textured by her lipstick. Only the sweet and the unstrained bits remained. Her hand trembled slightly with the guardrail in her grip. The sun was already bright over the beach, its heat making every effort to sooth her sagging skin. She was nearly blinded by the glare but she would not turn away from the horizon. She missed Frank so much.