Of Darker Things
They spoke of many things that day.
But mainly they spoke of yesterdays.
Or, to paint the more truthful picture; it was the old man who spoke, and the son who listened.
He listened to every word the old man uttered from lips faded and cracked by eighty-seven summers. He even saw glimpses of unbridled joy in the old man’s eyes as he spoke – though now life-tired, milky, and succumbing.
Often the son smiled at his father. It was, of course, the correct thing for a son to do, and he held gently the old man’s atrophied hand in his own, wondering why it was that he had no recollection of the things he spoke, of such joyful things.
For his only memories were of other things, of much darker things.
But the son said nothing, for there was nothing for him to say that should have been said many years ago.
Nothing for him to do that should have been done many years ago.
He listened until his father’s words slowed, faltered, ran dry. The father then closed his eyes.
The son leant over and laid his lips on the old man’s forehead. It was salty and cool, and it smelled of death.
He then whispered in his father’s ear: thank you. Two words hauled from some chasm in his heart, the place where anger and love battled each other daily for supremacy, and he wasn’t entirely sure which had coloured those two words – maybe it was both – or maybe it was something else.
He then placed the old man’s hand back down upon the bed, and began to weep openly for the first time since he was a child.
Lee is a short fiction writer. He has also had stories published with: F(r)iction online, Flash Fiction Magazine, Sick Lit Magazine, Platform For Prose, STORGY, The Red Line, The Londonist, and was shortlisted for the BBC’s 2015 Opening Lines competition. Originally from London, he now lives in Greece.
He can be found here: https://hamblin1.wordpress.com / @kali_thea