Frank is ninety-five.
Rita is eighty-eight.
Frank and Rita and their spouses were best friends. They all immigrated from various regions of Italy and ended up within five miles of each other in Florida. Every Sunday after mass they went to breakfast together. They alternated Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter holidays at each other's homes, and visited each other's relatives.
Frank still drove. After his wife, Maria, and Rita's husband, Tony, passed away, Frank stopped by every day to visit. He changed light bulbs, tightened screws, and took Rita for groceries or appointments. Every Saturday he delivered her to the hairdresser and picked her up afterward for a matinee and early dinner. On Sunday after mass and breakfast, they visited Perpetual Gardens Mortuary, where Maria lay on a slab directly above Tony.
Five years after Maria had passed and nine months after Tony had passed, Frank put his house on the market and moved into the guest room at Rita's.
Frank (his first night in the guest room): Rita, I can't find my glasses.
Rita (in her bedroom): Look on the kitchen table.
Frank: Where? I can't hear. I took my hearing aides out.
Rita (louder): In the kitchen. Put your ears in.
Fran (with loud squeal from his hearing aides): OK. Where the hell is the light switch?
Rita: Next to the phone.
Frank (fumbling): There they are! When should I shower?
Rita: When you want.
Frank: There's no shower in my bathroom. Now or in the morning?
Rita: In the morning.
Frank: Do you eat, then shower, or shower first?
Rita: Do what you want. I have coffee, juice, Italian bread toasted.
Frank: I always have oatmeal with bananas.
Rita: Too bad.
Rita: Never mind.
Frank: What can I put my dentures in?
Rita: A glass from the kitchen.
Frank: I'll get it. I forgot my Polident. You got any left from Tony?
Rita: It's in my bathroom under the sink.
Frank: OK. What time you get up?
Rita: Seven o'clock.
Frank: Seven o'clock? Why so early?
Rita: I say the rosary. Sleep, if you want.
Frank: Yeah, I don't say the rosary.
Rita: Do what you want.
Frank: Can I come in for the Polident?
Rita: There's no-thing exciting here.
Frank (going through Rita's bedroom to her bathroom): I heard on TV Dentu-
cream poisons people. You might find me dead on the floor.
Rita: You no wear them enough to get poison. If I find you dead, I scream for
Dolores (next door).
Frank: Call 9-1-1 after you scream.
Rita: You check the stove?
Frank: Why should I?
Rita: I check at night to make sure no gas.
Frank: We had cold sandwiches tonight.
Rita: Oh, yeah. You check the front door?
Frank: I locked it myself.
Rita: Then go to bed.
Frank: I'm trying. Night, Rita.
Rita: Good night, Tony. I mean Franco.
- Delray Beach, FL, Westport, MA, United States
- Undergraduate degree, Colby College; MA in teaching, Columbia Teacher's College; former high school English teacher in three states; former owner of interior design co. with advanced degree from R.I. School of Design. Published first book in 2009 titled, MINOR LEAGUE MOM: A MOTHER'S JOURNEY THROUGH THE RED SOX FARM TEAMS. Her humorous manuscript titled ELDERLY PARENTS WITH ALL THEIR MARBLES: A SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR THE KIDS was published in June, 2014. In 2015 A SURVIVAL GUIDE won a gold medal in the self-help category at the Florida Authors & Publishers Association conference. See website By CLICKING HERE.