Penny

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Penny was sitting in her rocking chair like every afternoon after lunch. She positioned herself to look at the park across the way because it was her routine. To watch the mailman and pedestrians go by and carry on with their day.

She watched as a little boy with wild brown hair was playing with his dachshund. His mother was nearby pretending that she was enjoying a book but instead kept peeping over the pages at the little boy. She seemed to be very attentive and cautious towards him, watching every move he made.

Penny couldn't help but giggle at the boy as he tried to chase the little dog around the park. She remembered when she was his age, running after the neighborhood cat. She remembered that her mother scolded her often about it because Penny would come home with dirty shoes afterwards. Her laughs were cut short with a few coughs she sputtered out and she fell silent again.

When did she get so old?

Where did the time go?

She let out a sad sigh and hugged her blanket tight.

Penny felt so lonely perched up here in her room looking about the streets. She wanted a chance to have a new adventure. A chance to start over and redo the things that she knew she wanted to change. The only company was a sweet girl named Mandy who came over and checked her vitals and made sure she had clean sheets and a warm meal. But Penny couldn't help but know in the back of her mind that Mandy was paid to do that. Mandy wouldn't come here on her spare time to keep Penny company, she knew that. She knew she needed the money to keep up with her bills to finish college.

Besides, Mandy had those new phones that made those annoying sounds every two minutes that made her smile more than anything. Penny knew it was her boyfriend behind those little noises just by the way Mandy's eyes grew wide and her face melted into a smile after every time she looked at it.

Benny used to make her do that. Make her have that smile. Benny was actually Brent Carson, the man who picked up and stole Penny's heart at the age of sixteen. Benny was Penny's nickname for him, she liked the way it sounded like hers. And Penny liked the way Jenny, Kenny, and Lenny came into the mix too. Her three children had to match the family trend.

Penny smiled at the thought and she closed her eyes and silently let go of a tear.

How she missed Benny....

He died of a stroke twenty years ago and there has not been a day that Penny did not think of him since they have met. It has been sixty eight years since then and she still gets butterflies at the thought.

The bark of the little dog brought Penny back to reality and she sighed a long sigh again.

How she wished she could have her old life back. With all her children running about and her husband coming home from a long days work and shamelessly giving her a peck on the cheek as he walked by. She missed having company...someone to remember that she existed...

More unexpected tears sprung from her eyes and she started to sob.

No one remembers her...

She sobbed for what seemed like a good hour, but only ten minutes have gone by and she wasn't done feeling lonely. She reminisced all the times where she felt left out.

Like the time her children were planning a family trip and forgot to mention that their plans didn't include Penny. Or when her grandchildren would walk past her and their parents asked them to say hello to her as an act of respect, not because they wanted to. Or that time when she invited everyone over for dinner once, when Benny was still alive and the whole family grabbed some plates and ate on the living room couch instead of the dinner table where Penny sat alone.

Clutching her little blanket Penny started to catch her breath and slowly started to let the tears stop.

Right then she wondered if this was how her parents felt when they were her age? Or her beloved grandmother who practically raised her?

No, no, no, no...they couldn't have. She loved them so much.

She tried to visit when she could and made sure they had the best care at that ripe old age. Penny looked out the window to the attentive mother and thought about her mother and where she was at the moment in the whole mix.

She should be with her...right? She must be sitting alone in a dark room like this one and watching other families walk by.

But Penny stopped and watched her watch the boy.

If the woman did leave and was with her mother all the time she wouldn't have time to watch her son play with his dog....

The mother was attending her son... and if she didn't, who would?

Penny thought back to the times where she felt too busy to poke her head in for a visit to her mother's house. Or when she felt it was so overwhelming to go see her grandmother all the time that she soon dwindled it down to once a month....

Just like her children and grandchildren...

Penny let go of the blanket and smiled again...

They were living their lives the best that they could.

Penny didn't love her mother any less or her grandmother. It was just the fact that life was making it difficult for her to have time to go when she pleased. She had a husband who needed her. Children who needed her...

And she appreciated everything they both had done for her. All the meals that they made, the clothes that they washed, all the boo boos that they kissed...it meant so much to her.

Penny looked out the window once more, for the very last time... at the boy running in the grass after his dog.

That she too will be remembered...


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