Stephen sat at his wife’s grave and pondered, “In our minds we know it will happen someday, but it’s always something distant and something that won’t happen for many-many years.” He had been in love with Emma since high school. When they graduated from Baton Rouge High School in Louisiana, they were married right away. A native Southerner, Emma stood out among the other girls and was a real perfection.
Friends admitted that Stephen was lucky, because he got such a wonderful and beautiful woman. And, boy, he realized that and cherished every moment, he dreamed, that they would live happily ever after. But there was a difficult challenge ahead of them. For years they were unable to have a child, and they had been to many doctors, even went through a treatment that weakened Emma’s body, but all without result. That’s when Steven made the decision to end it all. He convinced Emma that it was enough that they had each other. Life flies by so quickly, and it’s not worth wasting it on suffering.
And it was the right decision. They had an interesting time traveling, enjoying each other and being happy. But when Emma turned 65, she was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and soon Emma was gone. “We’ll all be there, but I couldn’t have imagined it would happen so soon,” Stephen reflected, and he became increasingly overwhelmed with loneliness.
It had been a year since Emma’s death, but he visited the cemetery regularly once a week, grieving his loss. On one of his visits, Stephen noticed that fresh roses had been planted near the grave. “This must be the work of the cemetery gardener,” the man thought.
It should be noted that his wife’s grave was farthest from all the other graves, so this was done purposefully. Besides, Emma was a big fan of roses. However, the cemetery management explained that they had nothing to do with the flowers.
“We’re sorry, Mr. Davis. But our gardener had nothing to do with it,” the cemetery worker asserted.
Stephen surmised that it might have been the work of someone who cared. However, he decided to track down who that benefactor was, and visited the cemetery every day. On the fifth day, he saw a woman tending roses on Emma’s grave.
“Excuse me, Miss. Do you work here? I’ve never seen you before,” Stephen questioned the woman.
“Good afternoon! Not exactly. I snuck onto the grounds to plant flowers as a tribute to this woman,” the stranger replied.
“Did you two know each other?”, Stephen asked in surprise. As a rule, he and his wife never hid anything from each other. Curiosity gripped Stephen.
“Our acquaintance was short-lived. About four years ago, my mother kicked me out the door. At 14, I found myself on the street with empty pockets. Somehow I stumbled into this woman’s yard and there were roses growing there. I stole some flowers and went to the supermarket to sell them there. That way I wanted to earn something to eat. For three days I followed this scenario until she grabbed me. I braced myself for screams and threats, but Mrs. Davis was calm.”
“Speak up, please,” insisted Stephen.
“Then she invited me to her house and treated me to breakfast. I gave her my name and told her why I was forced to steal flowers,” Anna continued. “She was understanding and wanted to help me. Ms. Davis contacted social services. I didn’t know then that CPS existed, and after a while they came to get me. They found a foster family for me and I was able to go back to school. I still have the bracelet she gave me the last time we saw each other.
When Stephen looked at the jewelry, he realized Anna wasn’t lying. Emma had told him that she had “lost” that bracelet long ago. “Indeed, Mrs. Davis was very kind. Have you seen her anywhere else after this incident?”, he questioned again, hoping to hear details of their interaction.
“Unfortunately no. I lived in another city and never met her again. I recently returned to that house, but no one opened the door for me. The neighbors told me what happened to Mrs. Davis,” Anna replied. “I can’t believe she’s gone. I’m still very grateful for all the help she gave me.”
Stephen was flooded with memories. It was really in Emma’s spirit to help everyone around her. So he took Anna’s story rather calmly. Then Stephen hastened to introduce himself properly. “Allow me to introduce myself, I’m Stephen, Emma’s husband. I saw the flowers you planted, thank you!” he said.
“So you are her husband! Please accept my sincere condolences. I wanted to do something nice, but I knew the finished bouquet would quickly wilt. So I decided to plant roses so that they would bloom here as long as possible,” Anna replied. “But unfortunately, I can’t take care of them anymore. I’ll have to leave town since I can’t get a job, and time is running out, I’m 18 years old now.”
“What about your family?”
“My foster parents never got around to adopting me. I felt like a stranger in their house. So I’m still alone. My savings aren’t enough, I’m looking for a job, but there’s nothing suitable. All this time I’m sleeping in shelters”.
“I have an offer! I invite you to my place. I’ll make you something to eat,” said Stephen. Anna hesitated, doubts filled her mind. However, after a little hesitation, she agreed to Mr. Davis’s proposal. Anna assumed that Mr. is as kind as Mrs. Davis.
After dinner, he offered to let Anna stay in the house as long as she needed. Anna was perplexed: “I don’t understand anything. You don’t know me at all, why would you want to do that?”
“I suppose I am acting for the same reasons as my wife, when you first met. You’re still a child to me, even though you’re eighteen years old,” smiled Stephen. Anna was once again pleasantly shocked by the kindness of a stranger. She accepted Stephen’s invitation and decided to stay here until she got back on her feet.
The elderly man had become like family to her, and she tried to always be there for him. A few years later Stephen became very ill, Anna did not leave him and helped as much as she could. But Stephen was gone, his death caught him in his sleep. Anna was devastated. Good thing she had a job and managed to raise enough money to find a new place to live. Anna had no idea what surprise Stephen had in store for her.
During the farewell ceremony, Mr. Davis’s lawyer approached her. The man informed her that she needed to come to the office the next day or the end of the week to sign the necessary papers and settle any issues that might exist.
“Excuse me, what are you talking about? What documents? And what needs to be taken care of?” an unsuspecting Anna asked.
“I’m sorry to get ahead of myself. As a rule, we read the will first, but since there are no heirs besides you, there is no need. It will require your signature and a few words so that we can register his estate to you,” the lawyer calmly replied.
Anna could not believe her ears. From the words of a lawyer, she learned that Stephen bequeathed her house, a solid savings and all the belonings. So she would not have to leave the house that had truly become her own. As soon as the lawyer finished speaking, Anna hugged him and cried, unable to contain her joy any longer.