The old woman was worried. Her husband’s sudden illness had come out of nowhere. He hadn’t been hungry nor had he moved from the patio all afternoon. He sat there, in the shade, nodding off and coming to; off and on for a few hours. He’d told her he would be alright and she long ago learned of his stubbornness. Without a fight she could not get him to come inside and lay down. What was more disconcerting was that a blister had come up on his lower lip. To her it looked like a blister from a second degree burn. The result of too much time for his fair skin to be in the sun. He was, however, under the shade tree he had planted many years ago for the patio. He had carefully pruned it to force longer branches over the patio. He did so by shortening the length of the opposite branches thus forcing the growth to the patio-side for shade. That is where he had been sitting. In dappled shade with the ever present breeze from the west.
She had seen, finally, that he slept, although fitfully. His breathing was regular and he seemed at ease but for the blisters the second of which had come up on his forehead an hour after the one on his lip. She thought to call the emergency but was fearful of his reaction. He had told her that his most fervent wish was to pass away with no muss or fuss over him; right here, where he loved to be. She would only accede to that because he had made her promise him this some years ago. Now, however, things were different as reality tried to push away past promises. When he suddenly called to her she didn’t know whether to panic or be relieved.