Family Fiction posted September 2, 2023 Chapters:  ...29 30 -31- 

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Iris's attorney visits Jameson.

A chapter in the book Coffee With Iris

Gift From the Past


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Thirty something, Jameson meets seventy something, Iris. They bond over coffee. This is the story of their unlikely friendship.
This novella is written in dual first person points of view. Each chapter will be labeled as to who is narrating.

So far, Jameson Petry has become friends with senior citizen, Iris Taylor. She has given him sound advice regarding his crumbling marriage and he has stepped in to help her deal with her terminal illness. When she passes, he is there with her.



I still think about Iris. When my divorce became final, I really wanted to talk to her. No matter how prepared you think you are for it to be over, it's like falling down the stairs. You take a few steps, then without warning, you are crumpled on the ground. You check for broken bones or bruises, wondering what caused you to fall. Was it a misstep, a rotten tread, or did someone push you? Iris would have put it into perspective. She had that gift. She didn't sugar coat things, she stated the obvious. But she did it in such a gentle and caring way.

I look across the room at Finny. He's grown so much. He'll be five in October. "Go grab your shoes, we need to take Heston for a walk."

"I don't want to go." He barely looks up from his trucks.

"We can stop by the park and you can swing."

The mention of the swings sways the vote. He runs into the bedroom and grabs his light up sneakers.

I hook the faded rainbow leash onto Heston's collar. I think back to that first day, when Heston ran through the middle of town, right to Iris.

Finn runs up behind me and jumps on my back. "Let's go, Daddy."

I stand up with Finny clinging to me, arms wrapped around my neck. "Okay, Heston, let's go. I don't know where Finny went." I turn around, pretending to look for him. He giggles in my ear. "Bye-bye, Finny. Heston and I are going to the park."


Finny and Heston are both dragging after spending this afternoon at the park.

I check the traffic before crossing and see a dark gray BMW in the driveway. A man is standing on my porch, knocking on the door.

"Can I help you?" I call out.

He looks around and finally spots me. "Are you Jameson Petry?"


"I'm an attorney, Mitchell Hatcher. Do you have a moment?"

I cross the street, pausing to ease Finn down from my back. "Did Claire send you?" I ask.

He smiles, pushing his glasses higher on his nose. "No, I'm actually here on behalf of the estate of Iris Taylor."

I slip past him and unlock my front door. I hold onto Heston as he tries to greet the lawyer enthusiastically. "He's friendly, I promise. Did you say Iris's estate?" I push the door open and Finn races past me straight to the refrigerator to grab a juice pouch.

"Yes. Can I come inside?"

I hang the leash on hook by the door and wave him in.

"Mrs. Taylor thought very highly of you."

I smile. "I thought very highly of her."

"She left you her entire estate, Mr. Petry. Her house, her car, her bank accounts, stocks, bonds, you name it."

My legs threaten to give out. "Excuse me?"

"It was Iris's wish that you receive her entire estate."


"Mr. Petry, she loved you. Iris cared a great deal about you. She had me hold back on notifying you until your divorce was final. Once I had confirmation I was at liberty to notify you."

He places his briefcase on the coffee table. He goes over everything line by line. It takes an hour. "Well, do you have any questions for me?"

I have a million questions but they aren't the kind of questions he can answer. She thought of everything, right down to the timing of my divorce. "I just can't believe it. It was so nice of her. She never said a word."

"She thought you might be uncomfortable with the idea."

I look at one of the checks he hands me. Seventy-two thousand, one hundred and eight dollars. The others are several thousand dollars and upwards. What do I do with all of this money?

"We can sign the deed to the house over one day next week. There are a few more things we need to go over but they can wait. You appear a little overwhelmed," he says, sympathetically.

"Would you like to go get a steak? My treat," I offer.

Mitchell Hatcher stands and shakes his head. "Another time, perhaps. I have a date tonight."

"Okay. Another time. Thank you for this."

"You're a very lucky young man," Mitchell says. "She thought very highly of you."

"I was lucky to have met her and gotten to know her. She changed my life back then and now ...," I say, shaking my head in disbelief.

I watch Mr. Hatcher walk to his car and wait until he is on his way before I gather Finn and carry him to the car.

We drive to the grocery store and I buy a small bouquet of flowers. Finny falls asleep in his carseat as we drive to just outside of town. I drive around the back of the cemetery.

It isn't hard to find where Iris is. It's a plain granite headstone. Nothing fancy. Just her name.

"You were a remarkable woman, Iris. I don't deserve this. But, I thank you."

I glance back at the car to make sure Finn isn't awake.

"I'm still writing. I changed the little girl's name. Violet didn't suit her. I changed it to Iris. This is your story. I miss you. I'll probably always miss you."

I bend down and place the flowers near the headstone.

"Next time I'll bring what I've written." I look around. "I hope you're happy now. Just know I'm doing okay. I love you, Iris."

I wish she knew what a difference she has made in my life. As I drive back home through the twilight I see a star shoot across the sky.

She does know. I'm sure of it.

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