363. The loveliest little house

363house

Johanna and Mark were heading for retirement. They had skimped and saved all their lives. How wonderful (absolutely wonderful) that they could afford to retire in the loveliest little house in the loveliest little collection of houses on the loveliest of peninsulas. There was a small canal a few feet from the back door, where you could park your fishing boat. Gardeners came through once a week and did all those horrible lawns and things. It was an idyllic retirement.

The place had one drawback: it was a thirty minute drive to the shops, even if you wanted just a packet of rice. There was no corner shop. Still, that didn’t matter. Mark did all the driving, and Johanna did all the shopping! Perfect!

Then Mark died. Johanna couldn’t drive. She was stuck in the loveliest little house in the loveliest little collection of houses on the loveliest of peninsulas. No local medical centre either, and she needed to use that more and more often as she aged. Taxi fares were becoming costlier and costlier. All the other houses were occupied by equally trapped widows who had retired with their then-living husbands to this beautiful promising place.

Johanna made a decision: she would sell her house. She couldn’t. No one would buy it; not now that the news was out that when your husband died (usually first) each widow was left stranded in her loveliest little house in the loveliest little collection of houses on the loveliest of peninsulas, with a small canal a few feet from the back door where the fishing boat was permanently anchored and unused.

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