Thanksgiving was fast approaching; the volunteer firefighters were out with the neon green hook n ladder, hanging the big Christmas Wreaths with the lighted candle in the middle that would adorn every lamp post in town. The first heavy snowfall of the season had covered the ground during the night, the early morning sun was causing the tiny silver flakes among the solid sheets of white fluff to sparkle like diamonds, while a crisp wind blew feathers of icy flakes into the red cheeked faces of the children venturing out to enjoy the first snow day of the year. Snowmen wearing candy striped mufflers, with carrot noises and smoking corn cob pipes were stating to dot the front lawns as the first plow made its way around the circle of streets in West Winds large apartment complex.
A gray haired woman at the wheel of a small black car was staying close in the wake of the snowplow, she was in a hurry to get home, tired and hungry after pulling another 12 hour shift at the only 24 hour Gas n Go in her small town. Her husband would be waiting for his breakfast, but she could not afford to slide off the road and get stuck in the ditch hidden under the snow banks being left by the plow.
Safely in a parking space, and looking heavenward the woman said her usual prayer, thanking God for the nights work, the safe trip home, and the luck of finding a parking spot next to the already shoveled main walkway. The car clock told her it was 8:45, she was late, and he would be worrying. Grabbing the two heavy grocery sacks, she hastily gathered during a mad run through Wal-mart, she rushed down the walkway stopping to gather the mail, before climbing the nine terraced steps to the front door of building 21.
Once inside the lobby she placed her sacks on the floor, removed a half gallon jug of milk and went down the 5 steps to the lower level, rapped lightly on the first apartment door then left the bottle on the floor beside the door. Returning to the lobby she reclaimed her purchases and trudged up the stairs to her own door at the rear of the second floor. Once again placing the sacks on the floor she put her key in the lock, bowed her head in a brief prayer, took a long deep breath and turned the key in the lock.
Once inside the door she called out to her husband and once he returned her call she slowly released the breath, she did not realize she had been holding. Looking up she said "Thank you God" and the new day began.
With the groceries put away and the bacon laid out in the electric skillet, the woman poured a cup of coffee from the automatic pot, added it to a tray full of pill bottles and other medical supplies and headed down the hallway into the bedroom. Greeting her husband she placed the tray on the side of the hospital table, leaned over to kiss the cheek of the man that set on the side of the bed, and handed him the steaming mug. Then started the routine of dispensing that mornings 32 different pills and assembling the tubes and vials that would carry the medications that would open up her husbands airways and hopefully allow him to breathe for one more day.
Once the face mask was in place and the mist had started to rise, she began to tidy the small room, and went to open the blinds to let in the morning sun. Suddenly, she stopped and raised the blind and took another long look out the bedroom window to the yard below, were tramped in the snow in 3 foot letters, by the neighborhood children, were the words
"Hello, to the man in the window."
Wanting her husband to see the words the children had carved in the snow, before something could happen to them, the woman lead her husband to his chair by the window, as soon as his breathing treatment was finished. That day, the man ate his breakfast while looking at the greeting the children had left in the snow.......... just for him.
"Hello, to the man in the window."
Three weeks later the woman in this story walked into that same apartment to find her husbands body lying on the bedroom floor.
The date was December 4, 2003
In the complex where this story takes place, I am still referred too, by the children, as the wife of the man in the window.