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The Patient Gift

Patty Howell

Lea grimaced as she pushed against the wind to close her front door. The quiet darkness of her home wrapped around her. She stood in the foyer shivering, once again safe in her solitude.

When she’d left her office at the bank, only a dusting of snow had covered the streets. Now, a little more than an hour later, double-digit accumulations enveloped the city, slowing traffic and bringing Philadelphia to a standstill. The winter wind’s arctic howl and outer blanket of snow exacerbated the tomb-like effect inside her house.

Balanced on one foot, Lea reached down and tugged off a boot. It slipped and landed with a loud thud on the pine floor—the hollow reverberation, a reminder of the sheer loneliness of her life, pierced her heart. Loneliness—a toothache in my soul. Suddenly light-headed, she backed up, braced herself against the door and slowly slumped to the floor.

Hot tears flowed down her cold face.

A solitary sob stole the silence.

“I know it’s futile to wish. But I wish...what? I don’t know what I’d wish even if I did think it would come true.” Lea scowled and shook her head. “Talking to myself. Not a good sign.”

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