Life With Mabel: Part Thirty-Two

This is the final part of a fiction serial, in 778 words.

Although she never really had the confidence to travel far outside the county, Mabel soon got used to driving her new car. She took Reg to the hospital for his check-ups, got her shopping from the supermarket on the edge of town, and occasionally took Elsie for a half-day trip when the weather was nice.

Reg had a few visitors at first, mainly pals from the golf club. But Malcolm never came back after that day he brought Reg home from Spain. After a while, Reg didn’t want any visitors, telling Mabel he could see the pity in their eyes. Besides, it was hard work using his machine to have a conversation for more than a few minutes.

Having established a routine, Mabel would wake Reg around eight, empty his commode, and help him into the shower. Once he was dressed, she was usually exhausted, and would make some breakfast before they just sat in front of the TV before she went out wherever she had to go. He couldn’t really be left for more than half a day, as he couldn’t make himself any hot drinks or something to eat. And Mabel had her own problems. Arthritis in her knees and back was making life difficult, so much so that Reg suggested she pay someone to come in and do his care routine.

She agreed to look into that on the Monday following, but on Saturday morning she found him dead in bed when she went to wake him up.

Sitting in the living room, Mabel wondered what to do. He was obviously dead, as his body was cold. Should she ring the doctor? The Police? An ambulance perhaps? In the end, she rang 999 and asked for the police. “My husband is dead. I just found him in bed”. They sent an ambulance anyway, and a young man told her he had been gone too long so they couldn’t do anything. As they were talking, the police turned up. Mabel made them all a cup of tea, and as the kettle boiled, she was wondering why she hadn’t cried.

He was taken away by the undertakers, and they said they would talk to his doctor. Cause of death was given as a second stroke, and the body was released for the funeral with no need for a post-mortem. The golf club hosted the wake and paid for it too, and the crematorium was packed with Reg’s friends from the club. Mabel sat with Elsie, thinking about how she still hadn’t cried.

After that, Elsie more or less took over her life. She went with her to the doctor’s, or the hospital, and accompanied her on the trips to the supermarket too. There was no sex any longer though. That had all stopped while she had been forced to stay at home and look after Reg. But they still went everywhere together, including the regular coach trips to places Elsie was keen to see. Mabel didn’t mind too much. It was company for her, and it wasn’t as if she had any other friends or family to spend time with.

Still, she had been grateful for the car breaking down that morning, and not having to go to Downton Abbey. Her knees hurt too much if she was walking around for too long. Sitting with her cup of tea, she opened a packet of Fig Rolls, and ate four of them before her programme finished. Then she switched over to watch the early news, expecting Elsie to ring at any minute to moan at her for not going on the coach trip.

It didn’t register at first, so she had to watch the bulletin again, when it all got repeated fifteen minutes later. Coach crash. Four dead, six injured. It had been returning to Huntingdon with a pensioner’s group, after they had visited Highclere Castle. That was the coach she would have been on, the one that Elsie had actually been on. No mistake.

Then the phone rang. Mabel smiled. That would be Elsie, using her mobile phone to tell her she was alright.

But it was Terry, and he sounded upset. “My Mum’s dead, Mabel. Killed in a coach crash. The police came round to tell me, and I had to go to the hospital in Cambridge to identify her. I don’t know what to do, Mabel”. She hung up without saying anything, and went back to sit down.

Suddenly, tears flowed down her cheek, and she reached for a tissue from the box on the side table.

But she wasn’t crying for Elsie, she was crying for herself.

Because now she was completely alone.

The End.

50 thoughts on “Life With Mabel: Part Thirty-Two

  1. Another great story Pete. I never took to Mabel as a character, kept wanting to shake her, but she was a woman of her time. Was a sad and lonely life even when Winnie and Elsie were just that bit elusive – not able to live with her properly every day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your thoughts and kind words, Lucinda. Mabel was indeed a woman of her time, but she proved to be one of my most popular fictional characters so far.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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          1. No idea either Pete, I have a WordPress blog but every time I comment only on your blogs it wants my name, email, and web page. I would comment more often, but it’s such a drag and I always have to check out my password for WP every time as I get it muddled with all the other passwords I have.

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            1. Sorry to hear that, it is nothing I have done. My settings have not been altered at all. (I get that on two other blogs I follow that are self-hosted. I can ‘beat the system’ by refreshing the page before I comment.)

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  2. (1) I like to go rock hunting when the weather is gneiss.
    (2) One of Reg’s visitors had a ‘thing’ for men. Reg told him, “You can unbutton my pants if you have a mind to do so, but I absolutely forbid you from unbuttoning my machine!”
    (3a) Mabel tried to wake the dead. But she could only play the music so loud before the neighbors would complain.
    (3b) The golf club hosted a wake. But like a vampire asleep in his casket, Reg didn’t bat an eye.
    (4) Mabel lost the crying game. Elsie is the “man” in her life now.
    (5) Adam and Eve asked God for a car. To their surprise, He approved their request. “I will make you a Fig Rolls. But drive carefully. I haven’t invented automobile insurance yet.”
    (6) Terry doesn’t know what to do. After he binge watches all three seasons of the “Clueless” television series, he’ll give his future some thought. Or maybe he’ll just go ahead and watch all nine seasons of “Coach.” After all, Shelley Fabares reminds him of his mother.

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  3. How sad for Mabel! On the other hand, living alone has some advantages and at least she can drive now. Maybe she’ll meet someone else and maybe they won’t die on her. ๐Ÿ™‚ Interesting serial, Pete, as they all are.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Another great series Pete, Iโ€™ll miss our Mabel, but you highlight the importance of relationships in oneโ€™s life. Nothing else is as important other than enough money to survive. Hugs, C

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  5. Sadly this is all too real. The one I don’t feel too sorry for is Terry although he’s in a real bind now. Would Mabel get involved with caring for him out of sheer loneliness? Some would, I guess. I think Mabel’s smart enough not to but what is next for her. Oh dear. You must have seen a lot of people in these sorts of situations. Good story Pete.

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