Comeuppance by Vern Fein

When you’re fifteen you think you know a lot and think the adult world knows very little and is really screwed up. When I came into my Grandmother’s house one day, I found her sobbing on the couch.

“What’s wrong? What’s wrong!, Grandma,” I cried.

She could barely speak, mumbled and sobbed and covered her voice with Kleenex. Finally she settled enough to let me know the source of her sorrow. One of her favorite characters had been killed in an auto accident on the famous soap opera—”As The World Turns.”

Grandma was inconsolable, her explanation breaking into periodic wailing as I tried to comfort her with the bromide that it was just a TV program, that no one really died. But, I remember, it took her days to stop sniffing and talking about it to anyone who would listen and, I think, she even stopped watching it for a spell.

That was over sixty years ago. My dear grandmother is now long gone and so is that TV program, which lasted about as long as any soap ever did.

Last night, my wife and I watched the ending of the penultimate season of an action/mystery adventure we have viewed for eight years. We both think it is one of the best we have ever seen, keeping us anticipating each season, and on seat edge for every episode. This last year, particularly, was intense because the main mystery, the identity of the true parents of the female lead, has finally been revealed and produced a totally unexpected outcome as that young woman, who had evaded death for eight seasons, was unexpectedly shot and killed.

Although neither one of us wailed and carried on like my Grandmother, we were both deeply affected, both struggling to process the shock, which was still lingering a few days later.

We felt we lost a friend, someone we really admired, someone who should never have died.

Because I did not know the details of the death on that soap opera, I can’t tell how parallel the two deaths were, except they were both sympathetic women.

As I shared the grandmother story with my wife, I felt sheepish as I saw the comeuppance happen to me so many years later when I thought I was even wiser than my teen self.

A retired teacher, Vern Fein has published over one hundred fifty poems and short pieces on over seventy sites, a few being: *82 Review, The Literary Nest, Bindweed Magazine, Gyroscope Review, Young Raven’s Review,  Ibis Head Review, Soft Cartel, Spindrift, Former People, 500 Miles, and The Write Launch, and has non-fiction pieces in Quail Bell, The Write Place at the Write Time, and Adelaide, plus a short story in the the online magazine Duende from Goddard College.

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