the old man's gray eye

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

Submitted: July 20, 2019

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Submitted: July 20, 2019



The Old Man’s Gray Eye by Regina T. Henriquez


It was not happenstance but destiny that guided me to the house. In setting my good eye upon the lad that opened the door; I recognized him immediately. For he so resembled his mother. Fair complexion, hazel, almond-shaped eyes and curly, auburn colored hair. He did not, nor could he possibly remember me. For he was just a baby of six months when last I saw him very long ago. Ironically, that day was similar in temperature, warm and shiny, as well as time of year, June.

He was amicable and welcomed me into the house, almost anxiously. After giving me a quick tour; he showed me the chamber that would be my room, and later my tomb. But on this bright day I was unaware of my unimaginable fate. Overwhelmed with a living extension of Muriel, my death was nowhere in my mind. Secretly I’d spent the last decade searching for Maurice. Finally, on this late spring day I’d found him. As he spoke, I wanted to reach out to touch him, to ensure I wasn’t dreaming. Such a gesture would have no doubt further unsettled him. I noticed, as was the case with most people, he was disturbed by my eye. I was almost completely blind in my one eye. The sparkling blue color that once filled my iris was now a cloudy gray circle. Cataracts had almost completely taken my vision in that eye. With a calm that contradicted the elation I felt, I listened intently as he spoke of the rent, his preference toward an older tenant and the general house rules. I agreed to the terms and cost, solidifying my desire to occupy the chamber by offering the deposit and two months’ rent.

Returning the following day, I took up residence. Hanging the two, small, oil paintings that had been my traveling companions and comfort for the last thirty years. One was of a little sailboat on turbulent waters. The sea water a few shades darker blue-gray than the sky. “Storm Warning,” it was titled. The other was of the sun setting near the London Bridge, entitled, “End of a Good Day.” Along with a small suitcase of clothes, toiletries, my violin and a metal teacup I owned nothing but the clothes I wore and the shoes on my feet. I spent a very short time living in the house. During what was to be my last week I had finally built the courage to tell Maurice how I knew his mom, Muriel, the love of my life. Each morning of that week he greeted me with a “hearty voice.” Inquired as to how I had “passed the night,” then rushed off to work. Two or three nights during that week we eat a light evening meal together. Maurice closely mirrored my own disposition. There was a shrewdness to him. Although friendly he was clearly keeping a secret. Securing one of my own I was too preoccupied with my own thoughts to ponder his sagacious manner. Cordially every night we retired at the same time. By 9pm sleep had engulfed me. At midnight however, although subconsciously startled, I never awoke.

One the eighth night I “sprung up in bed.” Having heard a clicking sound I called out to the darkened room, “Who’s there?” Sensing a presence that refused to answer I spent an hour waiting for some reply or indication I wasn’t hearing things. Terror slowly consumed me during that hour. My heartrate increased and it’s ticking, like that of a clock, sounded loudly in my ears. Finally, there was a sound that confirmed another’s existence in my chamber. Then a yell, light filled the room and Maurice sprung out, lunging at me. The speed of his movement, my terror and surprise momentarily paralyzed me. I could not speak. Yet a shriek escaped as Maurice smothered me with the mattress I had found such peaceful slumber on. Had I a voice, I would have called to Maurice, begging, “Stop, son! Don’t! I’m your father!” That secret died with me though. My last thoughts were of the love of my life with the curly, auburn colored hair, hazel, almond-shaped eyes and fair complexion. The last sound I heard was the beating of my own heart, pounding like a drum in my ears.  


© Copyright 2019 Regina T Henriquez. All rights reserved.

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