Welcome to Tuesday Tales! This is a continuation of my story, "Echoes of the Heart." Dale has decided to leave Willow Falls because the memories are too painful. But before she goes, Sylvia, Cliff's wife, has one last request. Thank you for coming.
“Would you tell your mother my wife would like to see her?” Cliff asked Joe. 
“She’s in hospice care, so today, maybe?” 
The boy picked up his cell phone.
Dale sank into a chair in the kitchen. Why does Sylvia want to see me?  She knew what hospice care meant. Sylvia is out of time. Dale drove to town and picked up a cup of chai latte, her friend’s favorite tea. She drove to Cliff and Sylvia’s place. 
The house was painted a soft lemon yellow with black shutters and white trim. Her chest constricted. The same colors. A conversation so many years ago with
Cliff flashed through her mind. They were lying on a mound of hay after making love in the barn.
“So if I bought you a house.”
“Would it be big?”
“Huge! The biggest on the block. No, the biggest in town.”
She giggled.
“What color would you paint it?”
She had chewed a nail, thinking. “Lemon yellow with black shutters and white trim.”
“Perfect.” He ran a finger down her cheek.
“Will we live there forever?”
“Forever and ever.” He’d leaned over and kissed her.
Tears clouded Dale’s eyes. Drawing several deep breaths helped her regain control over her emotions. She rang the bell. Cliff answered. 
“Good of you to come.”
“I brought her favorite tea. Can she have it?”
“Of course,” he said, stepping aside.
She followed Cliff to a small bedroom, where Sylvia lay, propped up by pillows. She looked weak and shrunken. 
Dale placed the tea on the nightstand. Sylvia smiled.
“Come, sit, my friend.”
Dale took the top off the tea.
“I brought you some sweet chai.”
“Thank you. I’ve known about you for years. I was hoping our paths would cross.”
“What do you mean?” A chill flashed through Dale.
“Every woman pokes through her husband’s wallet at one time or another.”
Dale swallowed.
“Your picture has been there. Moved from old wallet to new for
many years.”
“I’m sure its…”
“I know what it means. I’m not angry or even surprised. I knew when I met Cliff that someone had broken his heart. That a piece of him would always love her.”
Sylvia closed her fingers over Dale’s hand.
“He doesn’t know I know.”
“Sylvia, I haven’t seen Cliff in many…”
“I know that. I’m not accusing you or him of infidelity.”
“Then what?”
"I’m leaving him to you. I’ll be gone soon and you two can finally be together. That day he came to pick me up, I saw. I saw that he had broken your heart, too.”
Dale twisted the napkin that came with the tea, but didn’t utter a word.
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