Gilda's Locket
Gilda; never
Gil, never Gilly, only Gilda or Gilda Jean if you must; toyed with
the locket that dangled from the thick chain wound around her neck.
The chain, which had been a separate purchase from the locket
itself, was another strike on her already very tight budget. Her
monthly widow’s pension and social security check barely covered
the household expenses, such as they were. She lived quite modestly
in a tiny house that she and her husband had purchased over fifty
years before. They had struggled over the next thirty years to keep
up with the monthly mortgage payments, worrying each month as the
next due date rapidly approached, but somehow they had managed to
squeeze each payment out just in time, and eventually, they had
owned the property free and clear.
    The neighborhood had changed quite a lot over
those years. When they had first signed the mortgage, their
neighbors had been young couples not unlike themselves.
Twenty-something’s buying their first homes, places that would
inevitably be a stop along the way until their careers took off and
they could afford something better; eventually relocating to the
bi-level homes in the new neighborhood being constructed on the
other side of town. Only a few of the originals had stayed behind,
inevitably leaving their homes to less than deserving children or
in some cases grandchildren, who lived a much less motivated
lifestyle. Instead, these twenty-something’s existed paycheck to
paycheck, investing their earnings on less essential things.
High-end technologies were more important these days, and each of
these small cracker-box homes housed more than their fair share of
high-end computers, cell phones, flat screen televisions, and
surround sounds. Gilda would venture a guess that if each of her
neighbors set aside the funds they had used on all the frivolous
purchases they could easily have afforded better homes. But that
was none of her business. And it certainly had not been the case
with Eldon and herself.
    They had both worked most all of their lives,
but neither having a college degree or being licensed in any trade,
they had been forced to accept the paltry weekly paycheck that
seemed to be the only thing they had a right to expect. Eldon had
worked most of his life in the local grocery store, working his way
up the ladder to produce manager. Not very exciting, but it paid
the bills. She herself had worked a bevy of odd jobs, everything
from cleaning lady to keeping the books for a local doctor. Eldon,
being older than she, had retired only a few years before his
death, so they never had really gotten to enjoy those so-called
golden years.
    Not long after her official retirement, also
known as finally old enough to receive a social security check, she
had taken a job at the local library. It was a job she enjoyed, not
terribly demanding, and the quiet unrushed atmosphere was a perfect
for a lady of her advanced years.
    Her birthday had been the week before;
turning seventy-five had seemed more exciting for her co-workers
than it ever had been for her. All the same she feigned delight at
the surprise party they had held in the small room behind the
checkout counter of the library. Fully equipped with paper
streamers and pink-iced cupcakes (thank God none of those awful
party hats- she had some dignity after all), the party had been a
pleasant diversion to the normal work day.
    It may have been because of the party
atmosphere still lingering in her brain, that after she had left
the library that day, instead of going straight home which was
normally her habit, she had instead made a right hand turn onto
Bradley Street and found she was pulling up in front of the
consignment shop. She loved the dim little shop, but rarely if ever
did more than peer in the windows when passing by. The temptations
were too great for someone like her on such a strict budget. Her
library money was her only “mad money,” but it also had to pad a
rapidly dwindling savings account. With

Similar Books

Bradbury, Ray - SSC 10

The Anthem Sprinters (and Other Antics) (v2.1)

Reckoning

James Byron Huggins

The Wreckage

Michael Crummey

The Land of Mango Sunsets

Dorothea Benton Frank

The Lost Wife

Maggie Cox