The day was perfect. Warm summer sun, blue skies and the smell of freshly cut grass hung in the air. They had waited for this day for a long time. After months of planning, it was going to happen just the way they wanted it. A small ceremony with just close friends and family.

I couldn't take my eyes off Sam. We both picked out the dress she wore. She insisted on simple, no lace and no frills. I remembered the day she decided to wear her pair of Converse sneakers with the dress. They got into a big fight but there was no changing Samantha Puckett's mind once it's made up. She held a bunch of daisies in her hand, they were her favorite. The curls fell at either side of her face. She looked even more beautiful with each passing moment.

I looked at the priest and indicated that we should start. I grew increasingly nervous. Today was the day. After fifty two years of marriage, it was time to say goodbye to my wife.

As the funeral continued, I remembered our life together. Towards the end of our third year at UCLA I got Sam pregnant. We decided to move up the wedding to the summer break before senior year instead of waiting after college. It was pretty much just as it is now, small and simple. Tragedy struck us a couple weeks after when we had a miscarriage. We were both devastated but stayed strong. At least we were finally married and had a lifetime to spend together.

Sam graduated with a degree in social work. I know what you're thinking; social work requires compassion and empathy. But I must tell you something, my Sam had both. After graduating we moved back to Seattle where she immediately got a job in child services, her dream job. She insisted that no child should have to live a life that she had while growing up. I graduated with honors with a degree in computer engineering. The job market for me was tough and didn't immediately get any offers. Sam supported us for the first few months. As she would say, she 'brought home the bacon.' I eventually got an offer from Pear Inc. as a programmer doing 'geeky' stuff.

We had our first child after about one year of graduating. She had a wonderful pregnancy but a horrible delivery. Having to be the one to appear strong and put up a brave front she opted for no pain killers. Labor lasted seven hours. It was seven hours of pure hell. It reminded me of the time we were locked in that space pod simulator, only worse. Sam threw a vase at one of the nurses, she ended up with 9 stitches to her forehead. I decided to hold her hand to comfort her through the pains. Five minutes later, the hospital staff were taking me I get X-rays of my hand to make sure it wasn't broken. During the delivery, she shouted at me, 'Benson if you ever knock me up again, say goodbye to your manhood!' The baby finally came. It was a boy and we named him Robert. She insisted that we not name him after me because, 'with a name like Fredward he will definitely get beaten up in school,' she reasoned. I smiled as I knew this was probably true.

Three years later I got her pregnant again. I came home to find her sitting in the kitchen with a plate of fried chicken and a smile on her face. She told me the good news and I kissed her. She reminded me of the promise she made when to me if I ever got her pregnant again then walked to the living room with a wry smile, leaving me in the kitchen contemplating my options. That night I hid all the knives, scissors and any thing else that could have been used as a weapon. I lived in fear for the next nine months. We had twin girls and named them Marissa and Pam.

Robert took after me with his brown eyes and dark hair. He was a straight A student and went into medicine. His sisters looked more like their mom, blue eyes and blonde curls. They too were straight A students but unfortunately, they also inherited their mother's knack for mischief. Sam always said that the two were more Puckett than Benson. They had their fair share of detentions at Ridgeway also, but nowhere close to the amount acquired by Sam. She still, to this day, holds the record of most detentions at our old high school.

I look across and see Carly with her nephew Anthony. She went on to study law and opened a pretty successful practice. The biggest tragedy of her life was the unexpected death of Spencer and his wife Nicole. It was the night of their anniversary and they left Anthony in the care of Carly so that they could have some alone time. She got the call about two hours after that her brother and sister in law had died in a crash with a drunk driver. She took care of Anthony as her own, dedicating her life towards him. She continued being an attorney but never got married. Anthony and Pam are married with two kids of their own.

I heard rustling and turned to see Gibby approaching, his wife Melanie at his side and their daughter pushing his wheel chair. He became a MMA fighter and was known as The Gibson. He got a spinal injury when a stunt went wrong and was paralyzed from the waist down. I'm still confused as to how the two of them got married but Sam freaked when she heard of the engagement. The fact that she was about to be related to Gibby caused her to seek counseling.

It was about a year ago when we learned about the breast cancer. Our doctor told us it had already spread and that it was just a matter of time. We tried the chemotherapy but after two cycles Sam decided that the sick feeling was not worth it. She just wanted to live the rest of her life as if each day was her last. We traveled a lot, tried bungee jumping, went balloon riding and even spelunking. I didn't know it was possible but I fell even more in love with her that last year. One day she started coughing up blood so we rushed her to the hospital. The cancer had badly spread to her lungs and liver. At that point we decided to plan for the inevitable.

She looked at me before going to sleep, 'I love you Fried Chicken.'

'I love you too, Samantha.' Those were our last words to each other.

She passed quietly at home in her sleep.

The ceremony was short but sweet. I stood at the doorway to our bedroom looking at our empty bed. A tear rolled down my cheek. I was all alone. I could still smell her perfume in the air. I was now full out crying. Robert told me that I should stay in the guest bedroom if it was too hard sleeping in my own room. I declined. For the first time in our marriage, I slept on her side of the bed.

'I miss you, Princess Puckett,' I whispered before falling asleep.

I woke up with the warmth of the sun on my face. I open my eyes to see that I've been lying on soft green grass. A gentle breeze blows across me. I smell a hint of lavender. I hear the trickle of water flowing and soft chirping of birds. I sit up and look around. There's a stream nearby. I see an oak tree with a picnic table under it. I get up and walk over. As I pass the table I get the familiar smell of bacon. I look over and confirm, dozens of strips of bacon piled high on a single plate.

I feel different. There is no pain when I walk. I have so much energy. I look at my hands. No wrinkles. Confused, I walk up to the stream and kneel. As I gently splash some water on my face, I look at my reflection in the water and jump up suddenly in shock. There was the image of teenage me staring back at myself. I hear a faint hint of a giggle, and walk over to the tree to investigate. I'm about to look up to find the source of giggling when a heavy object lands on top of me bringing down in a heap. The giggling has turned to full out laughter.

I get up ready to tell the person off but I stop in shock. Teenage Sam. She laughs even harder at the expression on my face.

'Close your mouth Fredlumps.'

I close my mouth but I'm still in shock and speechless.

'What took you so long?'

I still remain speechless. I'm still confused.

'You're dead Benson.'

With that statement I become defensive. When those words come out of Samantha Puckett's mouth it means one thing… she is pissed. 'S-Sam! What did I do now?'

She chuckled. 'Nothing you nub, I mean you are actually dead.' She held my hand.

'But I just went to sleep. We just had your funeral. We…I…uh…I'm confused.'

She was now clearly getting frustrated. 'You are really the dumbest tech-geek I have ever known!' She punched me on the shoulder. 'You went to sleep, you died and you came here,' she said slowly, pronouncing each syllable.

'Oh. Where is here?'


'I thought heaven is all about puffy clouds and all that chiz.'

'Nope. It's all about being happy.' She replied. She put her arms around me and we held in a tight embrace. 'This is our place, our heaven. Ever since I arrived I've been waiting for you.' She let go of the hug and punched me. As I yelped in pain she said, 'That's for making Momma wait!' She smiled at me then continued, 'We get to spend an eternity together.'

I lean in and we share a passionate kiss. We break off but keep our foreheads together, staring into each other's eyes. I am truly happy. Teenage Sam and teenage me, sitting under a tree for an eternity, K-I-S-S-I-N-G. This is definitely heaven.

'I love you, Puckett.'

'I love you too, Benson.'

It all started being stuck in an elevator. Now it was just me, my love and a plate full of bacon.







not here not now








chocolate fish