November Bloom: “House Lift”

Many thanks to one of my dancing community friends who reached out for contributions to a birthday gift, a new scooter lift for someone with limited mobility. This good deed that I observed inspired this month’s flash fiction story titled, “House Lift.” Here’s an excerpt from the contribution request:

“A friend has an upcoming birthday. I’m organizing a fundraiser to purchase a lift device that will assist with increasing physical mobility limitations. My friend has more and more difficulty getting around and out of the house.”

"House Lift"

Leon’s life nosedived after his car crashed into a ditch on the interstate. He’d swerved to avoid smashing a deer crossing his lane. Three surgeries later, doctors had restored what they could- a wrecked shoulder, punctured lung, and ruptured spleen. His grown children silently rejoiced when doctors assured them they wouldn’t become permanently tethered to a damaged parent requiring 24/7 caretaking. They contacted local rehab specialists for home visits and asked neighbors to coordinate transport for doctor appointments and grocery shopping. Thinking they had satisfied enough basic duties, they flew back to their own homes and lives out-of-state.

But the accident totaled Leon’s 13-year-old station wagon and stripped away the only remaining love of his life: swing dancing. He had spent the past eight years of retirement driving around Virginia, deploying his legs in competitions and winning solo classics like the Shim Sham and Tranky Doo. Now he spent most days housebound and in a battle with the blues, triggered by insufficient funds for a specialized vehicle and his legs rendered inert.

Early one Saturday evening, Leon rolled down his ramp to collect the week’s mailbox pile, mostly junk. Stuffed in between the “must-have” offers for discounted hearing aids, senior jitterbug phones, and bargain cemetery plots, he noticed a two-sided fuchsia flyer. The bold type said, “YOU’VE BEEN PRE-APPROVED FOR LIFETIME HOUSE LIFT SERVICES. SEE YOU SOON. THE COMMITTEE.” The reverse side had photos of well-dressed work crews hoisting houses onto their shoulders and walking them to various settings. Back inside, Leon digested the flier again and again. Amid his reverie, someone banged on the door.

“Leon, we know you’re in there. It’s The Committee here to help you redeem our offer. Open up now, please.” Leon peeked out and delighted in seeing several men and women wearing 1940s’ dance style clothes- cuffed baggy trousers with open-neck shirts and women in floral shirt-waisted dresses. “Sit tight and hang on, Leon. We’re taking you for a ride.”

The Committee crew circled his home. Within minutes, Leon felt himself rise in body and spirit. They lifted his house and walked down the two-lane road and onto the highway, heading west toward the Fun Times Dance and Music Ballroom at exit 44. They aligned Leon’s front door with the Ballroom’s grand entrance. He rolled his wheelchair in to thunderous applause, then navigated to his favorite table next to the dance floor and performance stage. His pals squeezed into seats around him, bought beer, and toasted his return. Before taking off, The Committee reminded him, “You have a lifetime account for house lift services anytime, Leon.”