Phil's Funeral

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

My first finished story. The story is comparatively short. Phil is reminiscing over the past with his childhood friend Sophie. It's the day of his father's funeral, which triggers thoughts,
flashbacks and regrets. If you enjoy a certain amount of darkness every now and then, you're going to like this story.

Phil’s Funeral

It was a cold dry winter day, the trees were leaf naked and the sky made way to a giant grey cloud, covering the town. Phil was sitting in the same brown oak wood chair, next to a little dark table where his father used to sit and enjoy a cigarette during such days. He was in his mid-forties, thin and tall, and always looking drained from something.

“Don’t hold it in, I know you miss him” said Sophie as Phil lighted another cigarette. No one would have guessed that Sophie was in her forties, as she looked the same way she did fifteen years ago. Her soft freckled face gave a feeling of warmth and her voice – a feeling of comfort.

“I don’t miss him. We never actually got along but I grew up to be exactly like him. He was a modest and sophisticated man, but most of all he was my father, and now he is gone, forever. I did not believe this would be how it ended.” There was a slight tremble in his voice as he struggled not to cry. He was reminiscing over the past. His thoughts had always been melancholic and nostalgic.

“Isn’t that what it means to miss somebody?”

“I cannot accept this!” heavy raindrops knocked on the window as his tears poured down his trembling cheeks. “He is dead, and the last time I saw him I told him I never loved him. I regret so many things in my life, so many wrong choices I have made. No matter what I do, everyone I care about goes away.”

“Don’t say that. Surely, you have people who love you and care for you. You are not alone.”

“Fifteen years ago, I would go out with Mike and have a beer at the local bar. Fifteen years ago, I would help my dad build the front porch and have the occasional hassle. Fifteen years ago, I would have lunch with you and laugh as if we were still in our carefree child years. Now all I do is wake up, drink my coffee, smoke my cigarette, go to work and go back home. I don’t blame anyone. I only feel I could have done something more.”

“You still have me Phil. I am here for you, and I will never leave you.” She was consoling him but it seemed she didn’t try that hard. Sophie understood how he felt. He looked defeated, unable to move on, but his father’s death was not the reason. He had been like that for a long time – deprived of happiness and hope. “Everyone has hard moments and hardly anyone can go through this alone. This is why I am here for you.

“It’s actually funny in a way. I loved you, and I never told you. Every time I saw you, I wish you found out on your own. I wish you could, but you didn’t, and now it’s too late. You were the most colorful flower that would consume every grey part of my being. Whenever I felt lost and down, you would fix it only with your presence. I’ve always hated cheesy and emotional stuff, that’s why I kept most of my thoughts to myself.” It had been hard to see as the room was covered in a cloud of smoke. Phil went to the bookshelf, consisting of Camus and Nietzsche, opened the drawer and took a vague object.

“So you won’t go out? You want to stay here and drown in your own despairing thoughts. You won’t even attend the funeral.” Sophie accepted Phil’s decision. She wouldn’t leave, but she wouldn’t try to console him either. Instead, she lighted a cigarette and looked out the window. The rain had stopped but the cloud didn’t go away. Two trees were dancing at the sad song of the wind. It was quiet and peaceful. Deep down Phil was feeling tortured and weak.

“I didn’t help Mike when he started doing drugs.” Phil was talking calmly, in a monotonous intonation. “I could, but I didn’t. Instead, I let him get addicted, spend his salary on drugs, lose his job and steal money only for the sole purpose of doing more drugs. This happened five years ago. His life was better than mine, better than yours, and better than most of the people who came from this wicked town. However, ever since we tried for the sole purpose of trying, he could not stop. I didn’t feel the need for it, but he discovered a new life. Ever since that day, his life had been a downfall, until last year when he was found dead under the bridge near his childhood house. I hated myself for that. Now my father died, knowing that I never loved him. I could have called him the same night and apologize. I could have. Just like I could have told you not to go. There are so many things I could have done, but didn’t.” He was looking at the object sadly while Sophie had a calm expression. She had been optimistic for Phil’s future and believed he would be in a better place. Sophie was looking at the start of something beautiful while Phil was staring at the end of something horrible. His life, the better part of it, was nothing but a walk through a desert, with his regrets circling like vultures, waiting for him to concede. “Tell me something So…Sophie? Sophie!!” She faded in the smoke as if she had never been there, because she never was. She was a project of Phil’s imagination, his last memory of her from fifteen years ago when she left him forever. “I guess it truly was too late to tell you.” He smiled as his tears dropped on “her” last cigarette. He checked if the bullet he had been saving was in the clip. On the background of the ashtray, Camus, and Nietzsche, his last thought was of his three great mistakes. He aimed at his temple, relaxed his face and looked at the now moving grey cloud. He was happy for the first time in fifteen years. He pulled the trigger. The cinereous wall, the oak wood chair, and the dark brown table were stained with red. Camus and Nietzsche were watching coldly.

The grey cloud passed and made way to a tiny beam of sunlight that shone upon Phil’s lying head, a little beam that he could not wait for.

He was found several hours later and buried the other day. At his funeral were many people from his hometown, from his childhood, including Sophie. Sophie had come home after fifteen years and a divorce. She was looking forward to seeing Phil and Mike with whom she had been inseparable in the past.

Phil could have had a beam of hope upon his colorless life hadn’t he given up. Fifteen years of increasing regret, fifteen years of grief and sorrow, fifteen years of constant torture had gotten the best of him. Phil had died long before he killed himself.

Submitted: April 25, 2018

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