Marty woke up before dawn, as usual, careful not to wake his wife of 75 years. Marty had always gotten up before sunlight because Marty had always been a hustler. He never wasted daylight when there where Fuller Brushes to sell. He sold Fuller Brushes for over 40 years and at one time, for 10 years straight years he sold more than brushes than anyone in his area. He was was once the the Southeastern United States Salesman of the Year. He got a lovely dinner and and an inscribed gold watch that he still owned, given to him by the president of the company. He may have retired 30 years ago, but he still liked to beat the dawn and have his coffee hot and ready before the chickens crowed, not that they had any in Florida, where he and his lovely wife Alfie retired. Marty was 92, and could still out-walk anyone in the neighborhood under 75. He was proud of the fact that he had always taken care of his body.
After finishing his usual 2 cups of coffee, black, and eating his half-boiled egg, just like every other morning, he went outside to find the morning newspaper which the newspaper boy never managed to land on his sidewalk. He found the newspaper in the bushes, as usual, and went back in and sat down to pick out the stories he thought Alfie might like. He never read her bad news. He usually picked out the good news, what there was of it, to pick up her spirits. She was almost as blind as a bat, but she refused to wear the thick-bottleneck glasses she was prescribed. She also refused to wear her hearing aid, and would cuss anyone out that said she needed one, if she knew they were in the same room. But he loved her more than life and talked loud so she would be sure to hear him.
After washing up the dishes, he walked upstairs to wake up the only woman he he had ever loved. Believe in love at first sight or not but it happened to him, and to her. They met when he was in a hospital after War War II, recovering from shrapnel that covered his back and legs. It only hurt when it rained and when the government tried to give him a 10% disability rating so he could get a small check every month, he told them what they could do with their check. Martin McVeigh had worked all his life and would starve before he took charity from anyone, especially a government that still owed for the war. He loved his country and taking money for a minor wound for protecting it from Nazi's and Jap's was out of the question.
When daylight arrived, he walked upstairs just as he has done for the last 10 years, since she took sick and could not get out of bed. That was OK with him, she took great care of him for over 50 years and he was going to be there for her always. He slowly opened the door, turned on the lamp beside her bed and sat her food down. He walked over and opened the curtains and said, ""Alfie, what a beautiful day". Maybe if you feel like it later, we can set you in your wheelchair and go for a walk to the park. Wouldn't that be lovely." Alfie said nothing. Alfie would never say anything again and hadn't for 8 years. Alfie died of a massive heart attack and had not moved out of bed in almost a decade.
For the first couple of months, Marty could go nowhere near the room. He refused to even give thought that his lifeline, the love of his life, was dead. After a few months, when the maggots were through with the body and the smell of death no longer lingered, Marty went on with life as he always had. Somewhere, I'm sure, deep in the dark crevices of his insane mine, he knew she was dead, but each day he changed her gown, just as she would do and each day he sat next to the window and conversed with Alfie as if she could hear him and understand what he said. Each day, after his walk and after the evening sun went down, he kissed her good night and went to his own room to sleep. There was a strict rule he and Alfie decided on over 30 years ago. He snored terribly and it kept her awake, so they decided to have separate rooms. It turned out that they both slept better that way.