Once upon a time, there was a retired Ukrainian repairman named Stefan who loved a retired Ukrainian administrative assistant named Valentina. Stefan and Valentina shared a ‘friendship’ that Valentina refused to define. They went for walks together along the streets of New York in the spring and the fall; when it was too hot or too cold outside, they met each other for meals, either in their separate apartments or in restaurants and diners in between. They shared a fondness for McDonald’s coffee. They loved to dance together at the senior center and they were both skillful dancers. Sometimes Stefan grew overly possessive of Valentina and she declared, “He’s a pain in a neck!” But, after a couple of days, Valentina’s temper waned and she began to miss dapper little Stefan with his tailored suits and full white mustache. She’d see him again. He held her hand like she was the princess of his magical Ukrainian kingdom. In life, Stefan had already lost his wife of many years. He’d also lost an adult son. Stefan wailed loudly at Valentina’s funeral, tears spilling thickly onto his dark grey suit. He needed help standing at her gravesite, weeping; he didn’t want to toss in his handful of dirt and last flower. Stefan died shortly after Valentina. Not fair, not fair, not fair.
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One response to “Stefan”
Wow. Most powerful and heartbreaking.