Nellie was a friend of my grandmothers and lived about two blocks away from her. The first time I ever saw Nellie, I was shocked because she could hardly walk. I was all of six years old and just assumed that Nellie had a husband. Remember asking my grandmother if she did and was told this story:
"Nellie had a husband" my grandmother said. "He was a nice man until he did something really bad." "Really bad?" I asked her. "Really bad." Being six years old I only knew some bad things and wasn't prepared for what would come next. " What did he do?" I pleaded with her. "Well it went like this. Nellie's husband told her that he wanted to drive to California and did she want to go with him. Of course she wanted to go. But the bad part was that Nellie's husband had also asked Nellie's best female friend to go along with them." "That sounds okay to me" I told her. "It wasn't an okay thing. When Nellie had packed their clothes and got in the car, her husband made her sit in the back seat. And Nellie's friend sat up front with her husband" replied my grandmother. I had no idea why that was a bad thing at all. There was nothing in my six-year old mind to comprehend it at all.
"Did they make it to California?" I asked. "Did they! Why when they got there, Nellie's husband took off with Nellie's best friend and left her stranded there alone." "Alone?" I asked. "Alone." "How did she get home?" I quizzed her. "She had to take an airplane back here all by herself."
I shoved this story about Nellie in the back of my mind. It didn't make any sense to me at all at that time.
My grandmother always talked to me like I was twenty which was a good thing and yet kind of rough to understand what she was telling me at times.
By the time I was eleven, I understood what had happened to poor Nellie. She had been abandoned by her husband and cast aside for another woman. Since Nellie lived alone, I again asked my grandmother what happened to him. "Nellie never saw him again in her entire life. He just up and vanished with that woman."
I knew full well the moral of this story: Never let your husband ask your best female friend to go along on a long car trip and NEVER be forced to sit in the back seat of the car or you'll wind up like Nellie did. Alone.
Whenever I saw Nellie, I felt nothing but pity for her. By the time I was fourteen, she passed away taking her grief along with her. Guess a lot of you would say "Why did she let her husband force her to sit in the back seat in the first place?" That is my reaction as well to this entire short story. If it had been me, heck if I would have in the first place!
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