A silent conversation

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: November 29, 2017

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Submitted: November 29, 2017

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I hurried to the hall to meet my mother as she tread slowly up the stairs, with careful, deliberate steps.

“What's the news?” I asked anxiously, hoping it would be positive.

She shook her head, “Not good.”

I followed her into Lucy’s room. The room had dull pink walls, with a dingy white closet near the door that always sat open. Inside the closet was a mess of thin wire drawers that could barely support the weight of the clothes they held. In the far corner of the room was a small bedside table, inconveniently placed too far from the bed to be reached. On top of it sat a mess of CDs and paper that were rarely bothered. A bed sat immediately in front of the entrance to the door, against which Lucy was sitting on her laptop as we entered. She looked up at mom anxiously from her spot on the floor. “What happened?”

Mom sat beside her as I flopped onto Lucy’s bed. “He’s not looking good.” Her tone was diminished, like a dog whimpering in the rain. Not sad, not scared, just lost. She leaned against Lucy’s shoulder and no one said a word. It was as quiet as fresh snow on a clear night.

The silence united the three of us. Nobody knew what to say to break it. It surrounded and enveloped us in its soft, peaceful, empty grasp. It was almost enough to comfort a torn, weary soul.

Mom worked up the courage to finally speak. “I don’t thinks he’s going to make it.” Her tone had changed. She now sounded more than lost. That aspect was accompanied by a certain hollowness that stole the stage. Her voice was so fragile and yet so precious. It was a china vase teetering on the edge of a granite counter, ready to shatter at a single breeze.

And the breeze came. Her voice collapsed and tears broke off. Lucy gradually joined in. The two’s tears were silent and slow, but still filled the room with a flood of sorrow and loss. The tears were compelling and honest. They enhanced the emotion and swelled to a climax. And yet they were not enough to sway me. Through all the rain and thunder, I stayed dry. I didn’t understand why. I wanted to cry, to join in to on the communal sadness, but I couldn’t.

Throughout all the trouble he had been through, all the pain he had experienced, all the battles he had fought, he had always won. He was still here now, he was still fighting, and in my eyes, winning. That wasn’t going to change now. He had been fighting for ten years, had been the underdog for all of it, and still been victorious. He wasn’t going to lose.

As I watched the two cry, I tried to convince myself I should too. I wanted to feel the same sadness as they did. They knew better, after all, they were more likely to be right. But I couldn’t relate to it. I had never felt this before, like they surely had. I had never felt anything near to it, and couldn’t start now. I was sheltered from the pain, I was in an igloo of blissfulness that couldn’t be shattered. An igloo that would never melt. I lay there, on Lucy’s bed, looking at the two below me, crying together, united in their knowledge that I lacked, united in their preparedness. I waited there, silently, waiting for one of them to talk or leave.

After an eternity of nothing, Mom leaned over to kiss Lucy, rose silently, and left the room.

 

 


© Copyright 2018 David McDermott. All rights reserved.

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