Madge

The bank manager walked in. A tall handsome man in a stylish suit, he was quite admired by the female employees.

“Good morning, Mr. McGrath,” the four tellers said in unison.
He acknowledged their greeting with a nod and headed straight to his office.

Madge worked hard striving for his undivided attention, sometimes giving up her lunch time. He generally walked by seemingly oblivious to her toils. Then one day, his secretary summoned her to his office. Madge was apprehensive wondering what was wrong, was there cash missing? Was she being transferred or fired? Mr. McGrath stood and motioned her to the chair across from his desk. Madge sat timidly on the edge of the seat.

“Well now,” said Mr. McGrath. “I have noted your work diligence and loyalty to the bank. Therefore, I am promoting you to head teller with a subsequent pay raise.”
Madge managed to say, “Thank you so much. I won’t let you down.  You can count on me.”
Mr. McGrath extended his hand and offering hers she felt hot tremors right up to her shoulder.
Her career and the years slipped by.

This morning, Madge had the attendant dress her in the white blouse and navy slacks. There was only one outfit available in the small cupboard but it had been recently washed and would have to do. She pointed out the beige, serviceable nylon, knee high stockings, as well her only pair of shoes.

No slippers or housecoat today. The attendant co-operated with washing and dressing her, as she had done many times. Madge then retrieved an old purse from the bottom drawer of the small dresser. It was the one she had arrived with many years ago. Smiling at the care aide, she told her she was going home today and would be back at her old job soon. The care aide guided her to the sun room.

She sat down with her purse beside her to wait for the bus. When was it coming? She was going to be late for work. The bank employed a lot of people but she was valued as the head teller. She didn’t want to lose the position or suffer a reprimand from the manager because the bus was not on schedule. She continued waiting … and waiting.

The care aide gently shook her shoulder. Awakening, she was confused and wondered where she was.
“Time for lunch,” said the aide.

She helped Madge up and they walked together to the dining room. When she was seated, the aide held a spoon to her lips. Madge opened her mouth like a bird to receive the pulverized food.
The bus would not be coming today.

written by Gail Prior

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