Tag Archives: Short story

Take A Hike…a short story by Linda Claire

Take a Hike

photo by Linda Claire

It was 1995 and an anti-depressant called Prozac was becoming a commonly used drug. I wanted some. My friends had it, and I needed it too. Afterall, the stress of my on-going divorce while also facing single parenting, handling my spiraling financial concerns, and knowing that I would need to return to the workplace, it was all too much. I was depressed and I wanted to take the pill that would make it go away. No problem, I just needed to go to my primary care doctor. Certainly, he would understand pain and give me some Prozac and maybe some Valium too. I needed my pain to go away. I wanted to stop thinking about losing my marriage, I wanted to stop thinking about my husband every minute. I wanted to sleep. I wanted to go on with life and clearly all those scientists in pharma laboratories had come up with a solution that I needed.

I arrived at Dr. T’s office on a Monday morning. I was guided to the exam room where a nurse took my blood pressure, weight and temperature and recorded the results. There was clearly no test for a broken heart, a failed marriage.

After a brief wait, there was a knock on the exam room door and Dr. T entered with a pleasant smile on his face.  Since I wanted to be convincing about needing the pills, I certainly could not smile back.  It all hurt, so I used a little bit of my drama training and my real pain and twisted my facial expression to one of horrible agony.

“So, what’s going on?” Dr T asked.

I guess my answer spanned several minutes. Afterall, I had been rehearsing this moment for a few days. My voice ended by saying, “So, I must have the pill that makes this all stop.”

“There”, I thought. And I waited for him to type up the pharmacy order. This would be the day that the pain would start to ease.

“Why is he still sitting there?” I asked myself. Dr. T. was reaching for my hand and patting it gently while he leaned forward on his stool.

The moments ticked away. “Come on, get on with it” I thought as I tried to will him to give me the cure.

Yes, “Dr., Dr., give me a cure, I have a bad case of lovin’ him”

Still nothing. The room was silent. I hurt, I really hurt and without using any drama I started to cry softly. The tears dripped down my face and I looked for something to wipe my nose. None of this was funny. My life was a wreck and I could not cope.

That is when he started talking again. “Claire, you need to get out in nature.” He said and he looked compassionate.

“Buddy,” I thought to myself. My unspoken voice continued my response to him silently “I don’t need nature, I told you that I need pills.”

“Take a hike, cut the grass, garden and just be outside in nature.” He said.

My mouth dropped open, it was beginning to appear that the pain was going to continue and would probably last forever.

“I’m paying you”, I thought to myself. “Give me the darn pills. I hurt” I wanted to scream, but I kept quiet.  Did he tell me to take a hike? That was about the same verbiage my husband had used.

I left the appointment with nothing more than some half-baked idea that going out into nature would release me from my agony.

I guess it was a couple days later that I decided to weed a flower bed. I kneeled on the ground and I cried. I cried so loudly that my neighbor came running over. “Dear, what is the matter?” she asked.

“I don’t know which ones are the weeds. I don’t even know how to garden.”

“Oh, that is simple” she replied. “The weeds are any of those plants that you don’t like.”

Then softly, she continued talking to me and then asked me a question,  “Hey, I am going for a little hike around the block, want to come with me?”

I wiped my tears and pulled myself up. “Yeah, I would like that.” I said.

The healing had started…

The perfect marriage – a short story by Linda Claire Groshans

Claire looked at her calendar and smiled to think that tomorrow, February 14, 2025 would be the first anniversary of her successful marriage to Henry.

Claire had been divorced from her 1st husband for nearly 30 years when she had been introduced to Henry. That first meeting was memorable. They were both head over heels for each other. Henry had never been married and had no children. And, Henry was much younger than Claire. What they had was a remarkable December/May romance. The age difference was of no concern to Henry. He was devoted to Claire in a way that no other had ever been.

Henry was also a very beautiful man. A very striking tall, lanky, man with piercing blue eyes. He was a smart dresser and a very tidy guy.

People might have talked more about the big age difference and they might have gossiped more about Claire’s rush into the marriage in her 70th year of life, but as the first year of their marriage was closing, no one could find fault in Claire and Henry’s choice to be a couple. Besides, their friends loved being with them to share dinner, wine and witty conversations.

Claire did not care much for cooking, but Henry planned the meals with attention to Claire’s health needs and everyone always complimented him on the tasty elaborate dinner parties they hosted.

Their marriage was remarkable and happy. Henry devoted himself to Claire. In fact, Henry was good at anticipating Claire’s every need. Every day, he wanted to know if there was any item at all that she would like to add to the “honey-do” fix it list. Even when Claire suggested that the bathtub could be polished and the spice cupboard organized, Henry obliged with a smile while doing expert work.

Claire was obsessed with watching old WWII movies. No problem. Henry started spending quite a bit of time researching more series and films that might interest her. He never once asked to watch a football game, or any other sports show.

Claire’s friend Vicky had called just a couple of days ago and told her that Henry was a “dreamboat.” “Yes”, Claire had replied, “he is the man of my dreams. And, it is funny that you should call him a dreamboat, because I have planned a luxury cruise for our anniversary. We will be leaving soon for the month.”

Vicky asked if they were packed yet. Claire laughed and said, “Vicky, Henry packed everything and it is completely organized. I don’t think he missed a thing. He even fit my pillow into the suitcase because he knows how much I like it.”

“Are you worried about anything going on a cruise for that long?” Vicky asked Claire.

Claire’s face saddened, and even though she did not tell Vicky her thoughts, there was something very concerning to Claire about the cruise and the fact that they would be porting in foreign locations.

You see, Claire was the only one of her entire group of acquaintances that knew that Henry was a bot. Yes, a robot. She just hoped that there would be no issues bringing Henry with her without him having a citizenship certificate. She just hoped that his manufacturing certificate and her purchase receipt for him would suffice. After all, she thought, we never really know if other couples on board will both be human and who are we to judge.

The end.