We're skipping our usual four lines of prose on Friday this week, and instead concluding A Tale In Three Parts, the Past Present Future edition.
So today let us see what the Future has in store for our characters.
Good, uneventful appointment at the midwife clinic this morning. Can't ask for much more than that at this point.
Howard sat at the corner table in the games room, staring out the window and doing his best to ignore everyone else in his vicinity. The two men playing a card game he would never understand, the three women watching some godawful reality show on the TV in the opposite corner, the nurses moving in and out of the room carrying trays filled with medicine or, worse, empty trays in their hands.
He hated them all.
"How's your coffee this morning, Howard?"
"It's an amazing thing, Emily," he said without turning to look at the nurse. "For as long as I've been here, the coffee has been uniquely awful every single day. Always terrible, but never terrible in the exact same way. Incredible. Almost think you people do it on purpose."
"Who says we don't?" Emily asked and placed a paper cup with two pills inside it on the table beside his mug. After Howard ignored it, as expected, she added, "I've got strict orders not to leave until you take your medicine."
"Oh yeah? From who?"
"From me, Howie." Grace rolled up to the table in her wheelchair, gifting Emily with a kindly smile before turning her attention to her husband. "You've been skipping doses again."
"Thought you wouldn't notice," Howard said, shifting around in his seat.
"And why would you think that?" Grace asked with a faint smile. "Just because it took me almost a week to realize you'd replaced our coffee pot on our seventh anniversary?"
"Maybe." Howard cleared his throat, finally turning to look at the paper cup in front of him.
"Can you believe this man?" Grace asked Emily with a slow shake of her head. "Nearly fifty-three years later and he still won't shut up about it!"
"Yes, Grace," Emily said with a smile she could not conceal, "I absolutely can believe this man."
"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" Howard asked before shoving his pills in his mouth and chasing them down with a sip from his mug. "And would you please get these bastards to hire someone who knows how to fix a cup of damned coffee?"