Rosemary’s Birthday Wish

( Intermediate Level )

Rosemary lives in a small studio apartment in Boca Raton, Florida. She moved here under the coaxing of her neighbors and friends from New Jersey.

“It will be a great place to live, Rosie. Fresh air and sunshine. You won’t need to worry about the cold winters here.” This was two and a half years ago.

Rosie, as her friends called her, never thought she would leave New Jersey. She grew up there and enjoyed every moment. Both her mom and dad emigrated to America from Italy and settled in New Jersey, many years ago after marrying.

Rosemary had a close family. She had three older siblings and she was the baby of the family. Her siblings watched over her until their parents came home.

Both her parents worked in factories. Her mom worked in a garment factory and her dad worked in a steel factory. Growing up was tough at times. They never had extra money but always had a house and hot meals.

Rosie at 69 now, sits alone, in her little apartment reflecting on the days of the past. Her birthday is soon, she will be 70. She’s been alone completely for the last 10 years when her husband passed.

Her parents passed away over 25 years ago. First her father and then her mother. Her siblings were gone too.

She and her husband, Anthony, were high school sweethearts. Shortly after they graduated, he had joined the military promising her he would come back in one piece and marry her.

He did return and they married after six months. They spent 37 years together. They chose not to have children. They were both a little older when they married so they thought it was best.

Their life together was simple. Anthony loved to play cribbage in the evenings with Rosie after dinner. Some nights they would watch the news or sit out on the stoop, talking to their neighbors.

As the years went by, many of their neighbors moved away. Some had abandoned the colder weather for warmer or moved in with their children.

This left Rosie and Anthony alone. Until that tragic day, when Anthony passed away. Now it was Rosie, who was alone. She had a few friends that still lived in the neighborhood who would stop in from time to time for a quick cup of coffee and chit chat.

For several years this routine continued. Her loneliness becomes more evident to her friends. The idea of a fresh start in a new state sounded better and better.

In spring, as the earth came to life, once again, after the harsh winter, Rosie made the leap. She moved to Florida.

It was exciting, at first. The thought of meeting new people and possibly taking up a hobby. She soon realized this was a dream. Instead, she found herself alone again.

The people she met either were snowbirds or they were younger by 20 years and had excursions of their own to enjoy.

Every week each of her friends, from Jersey, would call to check up on her. She in turn told them everything was wonderful.

“I love the fresh air and the warm weather. I practically go out every day with friends to have lunch,” she would tell them. Of course, this was a lie. She didn’t want to have them hear she was actually miserable.

Some mornings, when she had her coffee, she thought maybe things would be different for her now if they decided to have children.

She could be like others and spend time with them and their grandchildren. No sense digressing on what could have been, this is her life now and she wouldn’t change a thing.

To celebrate her birthday, Rosie went to the corner supermarket and bought herself a chocolate cake with fresh cherries on the top. When she saw this cake she smiled.

Anthony always bought this cake for her because it was his favorite. Over the time spent with him, she grew to love it too.

Tomorrow was her birthday. She unboxed the cake and set it on her kitchen counter. She planned on having a piece after lunch tomorrow. What she was to do with the rest she had no idea.

That evening, Rosie decided to write a letter to herself. She wanted to express what she wanted for her birthday.

She knew if she shared her wish with her friends, in New Jersey, they wouldn’t understand. So writing to herself made sense.

With a sturdy hand and determination, she began her letter.

Dear Rosie,”

“I know those who will read this letter will think I was crazy but I am actually quite sane. I will be 70 tomorrow and I want to tell you my birthday wish.”

“I have had a wonderful life. My parents were hard-working people and myself and my siblings always had love shown to us.”

“I know it must have been difficult for my parents to move so far away from their families when they did. They knew, once they had children, they wanted us to have a better opportunity.”

“My darling, Anthony, was my life. He never broke a promise to me. He promised me for the first time he would return to me after the war and he did.”

“Since that very first promise, he never broke any promise. I could count on him for everything. We had 37 wonderful years together before he left this world.”

“When he left, my world stopped. The friends we had watched over me once he was gone, but they too were busy with their lives and I didn’t need them to babysit over me.”

I thought moving to Florida I would look at life differently but I cannot. Without my Anthony, life is just not the same.”

“So now for my birthday wish. I know many will not understand unless you have found true love.”

“Tonight while I sleep, I wish to go be with my only true love, Anthony. I know he will be waiting for me. I have lived and loved and met wonderful people.

I feel it is my time to go. I know one day I will see all of you again. Until then, I will be in the arms of my Anthony.

This is what I truly want for my birthday.”


She got her birthday wish. Rosie passed sometime during the night. Her friends from New Jersey called and called trying to wish her a Happy Birthday. No answer time after time.

Her friends became very worried, so they contacted the local police department to have them go on a welfare check. An officer was dispatched and arrived at her apartment. He had the building manager open the door.

Officer Bryant found Rosie lying on her bed. She hadn’t changed into her pajamas the night before. He thought it was strange she hadn’t changed and hadn’t pulled back the covers to slip into the bed.

Maybe she was too tired the night before to change her clothes or she expected to go somewhere early in the morning.

He walked around the apartment and found the birthday cake uneaten and the note she had placed beside the cake. He read the note she had written to herself.

He laid the letter back on the counter and whispered. “Happy Birthday, Rosemary. Now you are with your one true love.”

Written By: Angel

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coaxing – noun: gentle persuasion

emigrated – verb: leave one’s own country of birth and settle permanently in another

siblings – noun: brother or sister

garment – noun: item of clothing

reflecting – verb: think deeply or carefully

graduated – verb: completion

cribbage – noun: a card game for two to four players, in which the objective is to play so that the value of one’s cards played reaches exactly 15 or 31

stoop – noun: the platform or area on top of the outside stairs that lead to the apartment(s). This word is used regularly in New York or the New England states.

abandoned – adjective: deserted

tragic – adjective: distress or sorrow

chit chat – noun: small talk

harsh – adjective: unpleasant

snowbirds – noun: a northerner who moves to a warmer southern state in the winter for the warmer weather

excursions – noun: a short trip

miserable – adjective: unhappy

digressing – verb: leave the main subject or topic temporarily

sane – adjective: a person of sound mind; not mad or mentally ill

welfare check – noun: In the United States and Canada, a wellness check is an in-person visit from one or more law enforcement officers, especially in response to a request from a friend or family member who is concerned about the person’s mental health

dispatched – verb: to go to a place for a purpose

Question ( s ):

Do you know someone who had lost their spouse and now lives all alone? If so, do you think they are lonely like Rosemary was?

Have you ever become bored by being alone? What did you do to overcome being bored? or lonely?