A brand new short SHORT story!
A Short Story by Kate Kelsen
Copyright © 2019. All Rights Reserved
Penelope’s mother had enrolled her in deportment classes at sixteen years of age. At her graduation, the talent agency had offered her a modelling job once she was finished school. With her confident stride, Penelope had indented her place on the catwalk. Soon after her debut, she had been hired for high profile advertising campaigns. A world wind success with a rapidly unfolding career, she had been sought after by top brands and top designers. Distinguished photographers from all over the world had lined up to take her picture, and she had appeared on the covers of fashion magazines in America, France, Britain, China, Russia, Italy and Japan. With clothing labels and perfumes aligned with her prolific name and reputation, millions of dollars had rolled her way. She had it all; the career, the lifestyle, and the man every woman wanted.
The gentle morning sun beamed in through the sheer curtains which billowed gently in the breeze. Penelope looked from the photo album at her reflection in the mirror. At first she’d thought she’d been in an accident. Or that she was dreaming. Her face was hollow and gaunt; her cheeks sagging off her perfectly structured cheekbones. Lines ran like rivers on a map around the features of her face. Her knobbly hands were wrapped in skin so wafer thin, she could see the blue veins beneath it. The bedroom door opened, and Penelope looked up at the old man standing before her.
“It’s me, darling. It’s Ben. Your husband.”
He was not as she remembered him; his chiselled, golden body was now hunched with age, and his jet black hair now a shock of grey. He seemed like a stranger to her; part of her wanted to push him away in alarm, and part of her wanted to draw him close, to seek comfort and answers from him. One feature had not changed, his eyes, and that was how she knew it was him.
“What happened, Ben?”
“We got older, Penny,” he explained. “Sometimes you wake up and you don’t remember some things, and I have to remind you. It’s just something we have to do sometimes before we get on with our day.”
Penelope looked away from him and back at the woman in the mirror. It was no disease or scar that had made her look this way. Only time. The looks that had made her rich had only been fleeting, and the woman looking back at her was just a reflection of the inevitable.
Ben smiled gently, stroking her hair.
“It seems like only yesterday. How could so much time pass that I can’t remember?”
“We’ve done some great things together, darling. You’ve had a wonderful life. Come and I’ll make you a cup of tea.”
Penelope set aside the photo album and pushed herself up to standing, feeling pain in her knees as she shifted her weight into her legs. She took Ben’s arm and hobbled with him into the hall.
“Every morning that you wake up and remember me, I am grateful.”