The Mourning After

The Mourning After

Tina Turner sang it best… (1/2003; ultra short)


The house was overflowing with people. Old people. All friends of Abe’s. They were everywhere – at the kitchen table, in the living room, on the two dozen folding chairs she’d set up in the piano room. They were all so old, she thought to herself. Their clothes were worn and rumpled and saggy. And they all smelled, well, old.

Tina, 28, was considerably younger than Abe had been. Most of her friends wondered why a beautiful, shapely girl like Tina married a geriatric like Abe. Tina told them it was love. Most didn’t believe her.

Tina did her best to mingle with Abe’s friends. Most were in their eighties, like Abe had been. Most of the men stooped and had oversized, coke bottle-thick glasses that made their eyes look huge. Most of the women looked so frail as to be one strong gust of wind away from shattering. Tina accepted the condolences and well wishing she received from some of the people, and quietly ignored the venomous disdain she received from others.

At one point, Abe’s daughter, Claire, and his son, Jonathan, came up to her when she was in the back hallway, a few feet of space between her and the crowd of people. Both were in their early fifties. Both were beginning to feel – and show – their advanced age. Both felt Daddy’s money would help sooth its effects and were counting on it.

“We wanted to have a word with you, Tina.” This from Claire, whose hair was done up in a bun pulled so tight, Tina wondered how it didn’t give the woman a migraine all day long.

“Uh huh,” Tina replied warily.

“You know how we feel about you. About you and Dad. We want you to know that you won’t see a penny from his estate. We’ve already called our lawyer.”

“Thank you for your kindness and support in my time of grief,” Tina snottily replied, the sarcasm dripping from her words.

“Don’t give us that crap,” Jonathan said, trying to act tough. “You didn’t love Dad. You married him for his money. And we’re not going to let you get any of it. Any more of it.”

“I’ve told you and everyone else that I loved your father.”

As Jonathan was absorbing the precise phrasing of Tina’s comment, Tina added, “As for the money, we’ll just see about that.”

To her brother, Claire whined, “I can’t believe Dad married such a bitch. I mean she’s only two years younger than Jon Jr. for Christ’s sake.” Jon Jr. was Jonathan’s 30 year-old son.

Just to piss Claire off, Tina purred, “He’s a stud. A total hunk. Maybe I’ll seduce him and get him to marry me. Then I’ll go from being your stepmother to being your niece. Wouldn’t that be something?”

Claire snapped her head up and around in a failed attempt to gain a sense of superiority and huffed off. Jonathan skulked off after her.

Tina smiled inwardly. They were no match for her. She’d have Abe’s money all to herself soon enough, just like she’d planned all along.

For the next few hours, Claire continued her rounds. Mr. Rappaport needed consoling. Mr. Hess needed a roll of paper towels after having spilled a plateful of whitefish on the kitchen floor. Mr. Sanford tried to feel her up, the dirty old man. On and on it went.

Finally, when she felt she couldn’t bear another minute of it, the last of the guests left her house. And it truly was her house now; she’d see to that. As she cleaned, not for the first time, she hummed to herself Tina Turner’s classic, “What’s Love Got To Do, Got To Do With It?”

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