Yong Takahashi

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Death and Taxes

The chipper receptionist calls to confirm our time
Mr. Jackson and Mrs. Jane Hill, Tuesday at 4 pm
As usual, I don’t know about the appointment
My wife must have set it before she went away
The receptionist warmly says we can reschedule
I wonder if I should tell her it will be just me
Hello? Mr. Hill? She repeats it several times
No, she’d want us to keep the appointment
Yes, we will be on time as we always are
Forty-five years prompts me to say “WE”

I rummage through the drawers and cabinets
To gather up whatever I think they may need
I know there is so much more she has filed
Away so neatly but I have no clue where
I choose a shirt she has neatly folded in the closet
Knowing the clean clothes will run out soon
The silent car ride seemingly endless without her
The CPA asks if Mrs. Hill is next door getting coffee
I tell him she passed last Sunday, before I woke up
Before I could tell her how much I love her

The CPA holds my hand suggesting an extension
We’ve always filed on time and I want to do this for her
Tears fill my eyes as I explain I couldn’t find everything
He tells me she copied and sent files over already
As she has done as long as we have come here
He writes “Deceased – Last Joint Filing” on the folder
Then asks me to sign a document about her death
He tries to take the file back but I am unable to let it go
Perhaps this is the last time our names will be together
Until I am tired of this world and I lie down next to her again


Yong Takahashi won the Chattahoochee Valley Writers National Short Story Contest and the Writer's Digest's Write It Your Way Contest. She was a finalist in The Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing, Southern Fried Karma Novel Contest, Gemini Magazine Short Story Contest, and Georgia Writers Association Flash Fiction Contest. She was awarded Best Pitch at the Atlanta Writers Club Conference.