Wilhelmina Winters, One Hundred One

Mrs. Bird flapped up from her desk the instant Wil entered the office. “Oh, Wil!” she said, in a tone Wil had never heard from the woman before. “Oh, Wil!”

This, more than the sight of their rumpled neighbor, Mrs. Crandall, stopped Wil mid-step. Mrs. Crandall rose more slowly than Mrs. Bird, having never moved quickly for anything inedible in her life.

Both women, Wil realized, appeared concerned. No -sad. Wil sat. Fortune saw that a chair caught her, a coincidence that rarely occurred in her life. “W-what?” she croaked. “What’s wrong?”

Mrs. Bird came around the tall wall of her desk. Mrs. Crandall came around herself. The two filled the narrow office before Wil, though not in equal measure.

“Wil,” Mrs. Bird said. Wil looked up in rising panic. Not only had the stingy secretary never addressed her by her first name, Wil could not remember seeing Mrs. Bird without her desk besides the time they’d needed first aid last week. Not only had the stingy secretary never been so close, Wil could not remember Mrs. Bird’s tone and manner expressing anything besides irritation.

“Wil,” Mrs. Crandall echoed.

“We -” Mrs. Bird stopped, straightened. Wil watched her collect herself. “Mrs. Crandall just checked you out for the day.” In a brisk manner, the secretary turned to the woman beside her. Her usual disdain returned in a scowl of brow and purse of lips. Mrs. Crandall took no notice; she seemed preoccupied with the task of thinking. Mrs. Bird gave up. “She’s taking you to the hospital to see your mother.”

Wil started out of her reverie. What little color her face held left as she met the businesslike stare of the office administrator. Her mouth opened, but no words came.

The cold, blue, heavily painted eyes softened. The rest of Mrs. Bird’s face followed suit. “I’m sorry, Wil.” An arm twitched in a phantom impulse to provide comfort. “You’d -” she cleared her throat and tried again, “You’d better go.”

As neither girl nor dumpy woman moved, Mrs. Bird raised her voice. “I said, ‘You’re excused to go.'” She resisted the urge to push at them.

Mrs. Crandall shook her head somewhat. “Oh; right. Let’s go, Whale -erm, Wil.” She ambled over to the slight girl and helped Wil stand. Together, they left the office and headed down the stairs and common area to the outside door.

Mrs. Bird watched their progress out the office and school windows. After the old, idling minivan pulled away from the red-painted curb, she returned to the paperwork before her. A single, wet tear slid down a single, dry cheek and dropped to the page.

 

Continued from One Hundred.
Keep reading to One Hundred Two.

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

12 thoughts on “Wilhelmina Winters, One Hundred One

  1. Jules September 1, 2019 / 7:19 am

    I was working in a cafe when I got the call about my father…
    Tears, here indicate the news isn’t happy.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Chelsea Owens September 1, 2019 / 8:00 am

      I was in class at junior high when I heard about my grandmother. I’m sorry about your father.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jules September 1, 2019 / 10:16 am

        Almost twenty years ago…for me.
        But then I’ve had too many family members go… That’s what happens when everyone ages.

        May all our loved ones memories be for blessings.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Rising Star September 17, 2019 / 11:27 am

    I was out of my city when I heard about my elder brother. It was a really unbearable shock to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chelsea Owens September 17, 2019 / 11:56 am

      I’m sorry to hear that. I had a terrible shock like that with a friend in high school.

      Like

      • Rising Star September 17, 2019 / 11:59 am

        Thanks Chelsea Owens, It really hearts a lot when you lose some one special

        Liked by 1 person

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