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The Story Of George T. Slobonik

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“George T. Slobonik, age fifty-one, passed away Wednesday, Sept. 10, at Main Town Health Facility. Husband of Rita Slobonik nee Goldrick. Resting at Kenwick Funeral Home with visitation from two to four and seven to nine on Friday. . . .” And so it read in The Observer. She lost her husband.
I lost my wife a year ago. I had it figured. I’d go at five minutes to nine when everyone had cleared out. But would she remember me? It had been twenty-five years. I thought of her every day. We’d gone together for six or seven months and split because I was a damn immature fool. I was going to give her an engagement ring. I told her so, and she said, “Wouldn’t it be wise to get a better car?”
Well, I thought if I asked a girl to marry me
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“I heard your wife died about a year ago.”
With my arms around her, in condolence, I kissed her lightly on her cheek and she responded with a kiss smack on my lips. That was when words popped from my mouth, words I hadn’t considered: “Will you marry me?”
An expression of ambivalence left me feeling a damn stupid fool, again.
I was looking at the empty casket, save for a small brass urn inside. “Cremation?” I asked.
“Indeed,” she replied, “no doubt you heard about George?”
“No.”
“One is not supposed to speak ill of the dead, but our marriage was dead. His extramarital activities caught up. It was either cirrhosis of the liver or HIV. The doctor concluded HIV won. We haven’t been together for over three years. I’m only here because he had no one else.
“Yes, I will marry you. I’ve thought about you many times. Do we start where we left off, and how’s your car?” she asked with a grin.
“I just bought a new Tesla.”
“Okay, with a ring we can get married. A week Saturday soon enough?”
“Yes,” I answered, “but may I inquire, would you accept my wife’s ring?”
She looked at me with an expression that included pinched lips.
The next day I attended the funeral and Rita managed to avoid me completely. Her friends gave me the cold shoulder. Two weeks went by. I was unable to make contact. How dumb can a guy get? It took that long to realize I’d been dumped. This time I guess it was her turn.
Seven or eight months passed when I heard she got married. I
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