Ms. Eliza Doolittle sat in an English hospital waiting room. The year was 1975. A nurse slowly walked out of one of the rooms. She walked over to the elderly Eliza and the large family surrounding her and delivered some bad news.
Eliza kept a brave face, not shedding one tear, and retreated into the hospital room.
It was just like the old devil to live one-hundred-and-twenty-one years and then leave her alone.
Eliza sighed. She stared at the lifeless corpse of her soul mate. She had spent just sixty-five years with him. Just. She smiled. They were never married, but no one could ever separate them.
Her mind raced back to the year 1910 when the two first met. A heartless guttersnipe, he had called her. Henry was always insulting others, and, in his odd way, forever charming her. She remembered the rocky early years of their life together. Tears were drawn from eyes, slippers thrown through the air, and marbles accidentally gulped. And, at the time, there was Pickering.
After Higgins had won his bet, the one that forever changed all their lives, Pickering eventually moved back to India. However, he always seemed to be at the little house on Wimpole Street, until his death in the early forties. Eliza remembered how, after bonding such a close friendship with Pickering, Higgins was always convinced that the constancy of the air raids were the reason for his death. Eliza knew better. He was over ninety year old. But that didn't stop Henry from frequently swearing, "Bloody air raids!".
Eliza let a soft chuckle escape from her lips. She was shocked to hear the sound of it. Eighty-nine years old, nearly the same age Pickering was when he had died. She quickly pushed that thought away from her mind and remembered all the titles she had had throughout her life: Liza, Eliza, Miss Doolittle, Ms. Doolittle, Mrs. Doolittle---- and the worst one of all, Mrs. Doolittle-Higgins, the named used when the members of high society did not want to address the fact that Eliza had given Henry four children, and they never were married.
Her children, now in their forties, were Julia, Audrey, Marnie, and the youngest one, Rex. Alan, Jay, George, Bernice, Freddy, Campbell, Lois, and Cecil were her grandchildren. Her great-grandchildren, the newest, and youngest, additions to the family, were the infants Leslie and Galatea.
The youngest, were born shortly after the 1960s, Henry's favorite decade, by far. Well over one-hundred, he listened to the Beatles, wore tie-dye, and went around London barefoot. Eliza, eager to join in, had burned… his slippers.
But she knew that as much as she hated it, even while plagued from a multitude of diseases, ranging from arthritis to acute dementia, Henry always held total control over her. She pretended not… but it was true. She remembered how, when Henry had forced her to dye and cut her hair. He had called her his "blondie cockney".
"Blondie cockney," she said it aloud. Admittedly, she did relapse into her old form of speaking from time to time. But those times felt so far, far away.
Her father died twelve years after becoming a millionaire, and, through some miracle, he retained most of his fortune, even to the day he died. Of course, he left none of it to Henry and her, but not out of spite. Out of respect?
When her father passed away, Eliza's stepmother came to live with the couple. Henry always complained of the plump woman's high, glass-shattering voice, but she made a good companion for Mrs. Pearce in the latter years of her life. Mrs. Pearce was still employed by Henry, but she never did any work. Henry, however, did not object to this. He liked having Mrs. Pearce around, and he missed her when she left to a nursing home, just two months before she died.
Most of their years together had been happy ones. That was, until Henry's mother died in 1951. Eliza was sure Henry would follow suit. He wouldn't eat, he stayed in bed, and he lost interest in all things, even phonetics. But she had forced him out of bed every once in awhile, after much trial and tribulation, to go visit the theatre. The cheerful tunes of the stage saved him, in some ways, from wasting completely away, and he soon began bringing a recorder with him, to tape the accent of Yul Brynner in The King and I.
Immediately, Freddy came to mind. What life would have been like married to him! Divorced several times, Eliza was sure he still carried a torch for her. Now a close family friend, one of her grandchildren had been named "Freddy" in honor of him, and she hoped that he was in a good relationship now with Andi.
"Higgins…" She rubbed the still hand of her mate. She smile, thinking of the happiest times of their partnership. Higgins, snapping at those staring at the sixty year old and thirty year old strolling down the street. Eating chocolates…
"Mmmm…." She took a deep breath, as though she was eating one now, savoring the rich taste. "Oh, loverly…"
"Damn! Loverly, loverly…"
The hospital doors opened.
"Grandma, we have to leave now…"
"Thank you, Freddy. I'm almost finished." Her grandson nodded and left the room. He had been very close to his grandfather. In fact, he had been the one to introduce Henry to the Beatles.
Eliza stroke the stray gray hairs from Higgin's face. A tear slowly rolled down her wrinkly face.
Standing up, she walked toward the door, but gave one last look at Henry.
During their entire relationship, true raw emotions could never be expressed or played out. Henry was too uncomfortable, but Eliza longed to say three words, the only three words banned from their house.
"Damn it, 'enry 'iggins! I love you."