She sleeps with his sweater, although his scent is fading fast.
The boxes of their stuff, hauled all the way from Lansing, Mich., still remain just that: boxes full of stuff, unpacked.
And Maxine, his 8-year-old German shepherd, loyal to the end, still whines for him at the front door.
It’s a sad story — the aftermath of Michael Boldon’s death; the trickle down consequences that his fiancee , Beth Hultgren, now has to deal with day in and day out.
Ever since Boldon died along with a female passenger in a fireball on Feb. 21 — his cab struck by a Maserati, the result of what appears to be pimp-on-pimp turf war — her life has been a series of uphill struggles, both emotionally and financially.
Boldon’s cellphone provider , for example, still wants him to pay the $20 a month he owes for the next 18 months, even though he’s long been buried. She notified the company of his death but to no avail. She even sent a copy of the death certificate.
And the rent on their two-bedroom house in the Southern Highlands?
Well, it certainly doesn’t stop coming due just because he’s gone. There are bills to pay.
While her Social Security benefits can cover the rent, it leaves her with little to tide her over until the next month, and she’s too proud to ask family for help. She didn’t work on the assembly line in a baby formula factory in Michigan for three decades for nothing.
She’s strong. Like he was strong. And she’s soft. Like he was soft. He liked the way the flowers bloomed. He used to take care of the garden. He put the feeders out for the birds.
Sometimes, she wonders why it was his cab, and not somebody else’s. Why, of the “thousands and thousands” of cabs in Las Vegas, was his chosen?
But then she quickly pushes that thought aside, knowing there’s no rational answer in this sometimes irrational world. She resorts to the awful cliche that “there must be a reason for everything.”
“We have to believe it,” she says, her voice trailing off.
Then, moments later: “It’s like I lost one of my parents again. No, it’s actually worse, to be honest. I can’t remember being this sad. We were really in love, the two of us.”
Life had been looking up before his death, she said.
It was full of new beginnings for the two of them. They’d both escaped the Midwestern gray skies.
She had just moved out here, a month before his death. They had been living together in Lansing for 11 years, he a car salesman, she a factory worker.
When he decided to move out here to be with his ailing mother, the plan all along was for her to follow. He found a home in the Southern Highlands, and she eventually came out. He flew back to Michigan, like the knight he was, and they both drove out with Maxine.
She was just getting settled into her new house when the call came
It was from a friend in Lansing, asking if she had seen the news that a taxicab had exploded on the Strip, the result of one man inside a Range Rover shooting at another man inside a Maserati on the Strip. Maserati lost control, ran into the taxicab, killing the driver and passenger.
She turned on the television.
She texted him. She called him. She texted him. She called him. No answer.
She left him a message: “Please just call me to tell me you’re OK.”
“He was so much a part of my life,” she says.
The chain reaction of events that took Boldon’s life also affected others.
His younger brother, Tehran, has since become a gun control advocate, appearing at every court appearance of shooting suspect Ammar Harris so he can look the 26-year-old in the eye.
Boldon’s only son, Michael Aaron Boldon, 37, keeps his pedal to the metal. He’s still driving a limousine for work, occasionally stopping in to pay Hultgren a visit every now and then.
But Hultgren, for the most part, is alone, left wondering what her next step will be. Should she stay in Las Vegas and keep plugging away? Or should she head back to Michigan?
“I’m just too old to get a roommate at this point in my life,” says the 63-year-old. “And I don’t want to pick up and move back. I just got here. And yet, I don’t know if I can handle staying here. It’s, like, I need time away somewhere.”
She’s got enough money to last a month more or two.
One thing the two kept pushing aside was life insurance.
“We were always going to talk about it and do something about it, but we never found the time,” she says. “We never thought it would happen.”
A fund has been created. It’s called Assistance for Maxine and Beth at Bank of America. Account number: 5010 1561 4058.
Contact reporter Tom Ragan at email@example.com or 702-224-5512.