One Saturday...

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
reflecting upon his past and the recent death of his wife, our narrator sits in solitude, quietly observing his environment, his family, and his future in disdain. The more he wallows in his loathing, however, the closer to his own death he comes.

Submitted: January 01, 2012

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Submitted: January 01, 2012

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I sit upon my chair in the light of a firey hearth, watching water trickle down the windowpane. There is a draft of cold air—I can feel it hangin just over my head. Only the fire keeps me warm. I hear the pattering of every drop hitting the roof above me, the only thing that’s protecting me from the storm. For me, the home is the best place to be right now.

It can only bring you down more, a change in the weather like this. It’s nothing you can control, just like life, I suppose. You just have to wait for it to blow over and, eventually, the sun will come back. That doesn’t make it any easier to live through, though. I still feel the weight every moment I sit, staring at a crying sky. It makes me think of all I’ve lost and all I might lose. Interesting thing to say, but it does. Depression gets the better of me. I spill my sorrows into yet another glass of scotch. I drink it from the brim all the way down. With every swallow goes one problem that faces me, and I feel a little bit better.

The doorbell rings. It reminds me of the bells that ring on Sunday at church, another sanctuary of mine. Unfortunately for me and everyone else facing their troubles, it is Saturday. I stand up from my chair, my aching legs crumbling under my overweight body. How did I let myself go? I walk along the creaking hardwood floor to the door. Through the looking hole, I see that it is my brother, Phil, dry as a bone under his umbrella. Come to visit me again on his free time, has he? Fulfilling his quota for the month? I might as well let him in, I think to myself. There’s no harm in some company; I could use it. I unlock the door and pull it open, immediately feeling the cold winter air rush towards me from outside.

“This is unexpected, Phil,” I say to him.

“How are you?” he replies, “Just wanted to drop by, see how you are?”

I have to pause for a moment. How does he think I feel? How would he feel? “Carrying on,” I finally say. “It’s not easy.”

“I can’t imagine,” he says. He pushes the rim of his glasses up from his nose.

“Come in out of the cold,” I say, ushering him in. He retracts his umbrella as he crosses the threshold and steps inside. He sets it by the door and removes his overcoat. He inspects every corner of the room. He has a habit of doing so. He wants to make sure I’m still living clean.

“Keeping nice and warm, it looks like.” I say nothing. He takes a seat on the couch as I recline into my chair again. “How are you holding up?” he asks.

“Fine. I’m just living. That’s all I can do.”

“How long has it been?” he asks. Is it really that hard for him to remember?

“Two weeks,” I reply, “You were at the funeral.”

“I’ve been busy.” That’s all he says. It’s the perfect excuse for him. He could miss his own funeral on account of he was busy. I think of saying that to his face, but I don’t want to be rude.

“I miss her,” I say instead. “Especially today. Saturday was our day.” I think back to some of those Saturdays past—drives to the beach on hot days, staying in for tea on old days, dinner and dancing at the club on some nights, or a quiet night at home on others. She would read her Austen or Dickens, I would read my paper. The fireplace would bring us together in its warmth. Looking at it now, I can’t remember it ever being simpler than then.

“She was a wonderful woman,” says Phil, bringing me out of my reminiscence, back to reality.

“That she was. She brought so much life here. It’s quiet now.” I need another drink. I stand up to fill my glass for one more round. “You want one?” I offer to my brother. He shakes his head. Never mind him. What problems does he have?

“So what will you do now?” he asks as I begin to drink.

“What do you mean?”

“What’s your next step?”

“You mean am I gonna try to find another one?” It’s so easy for him. In his world, you could get marries one day and then trade her in for a new wife the next day. Women are cars to him. I don’t think the same way.

“I didn’t mean it like that.” Now he’s embarrassed. “I mean will you eventually want to after some healing?”

“I’m sixty years old,” I sternly put it, “I’ve been married for twenty-seven years, to the same woman, and now she’s gone. I’ve had my run in life. I’m finished.”

The pattering on the roof is becoming louder. Somebody is throwing rocks, I think to myself. That’s what the sound reminds me of. I look to the window to see a torrent of water raining down on the trees, the grass, and the sky. There’s no hope for sunlight.

“As for healing, I have to think about that. I’m not exactly sure what I will do yet. Church only reminds me of her more. It was her favorite thing to do.”

“If you need me,” Phil says to me, “You know you can call me, right?”

“I know,” I say. “I just need time.” There is nothing else to say.

I walk Phil to the door as he grabs his things from the doorstep. After talking for about an hour of other things, he said he had to head home to be with his family. What family do I have to be with? After he leaves, the house is quiet again. The rain is still falling hard and the fire is beginning to go out. Gusts of wind from outside begin to come from the chimney. Soon, the fire was gone, and the house was dark.

I can’t stay in here anymore, I think. I need to brave the cold. It’s not like me to deny my problem. I’m lost without her. I have to find out what she wants me to do.

I stand from my chair and walk towards the door. I don’t even think to slide my boots on. I leave them and open the door to the downpour that lies outside. I stood for a moment, apprehensively staring out into the wet street and up to the gray sky. I take the first step. The wet water along the cobblestone path splashes beneath my feet. All the while, my entire body is soaked by the rain. My shirt is dripping wet as the rain runs down my face. It feels more soothing than I thought it would. It’s a change from the warmth inside the house.

I walk further out onto the sidewalk. I take one look up to the sky and stare for a long time. I’m not sure what I am looking for, if it’s God, or if it’s her. I know she is always listening. “What I am I supposed to do?” I ask. I’m not supposed to hear anything, but I feel nothing either. I do see the sky, though. There is a small opening in the clouds, just big enough for the last rays of light from the afternoon to shine through. I see the sun for only a moment. It blinds me, but I do not squint. The rain stops and I feel the weight of the water on my body. It is not as cold anymore. The sun rays beam down onto the street, lighting up the world again. I feel as though the part of me that died with her is slowly starting to grow back. Time heals all, I think to myself. It will heal this to.

I walk back to the house, thinking of what I will talk to Phil about when I call him tomorrow. It’ll be a sunny day.

 


© Copyright 2017 Samuel Shrader. All rights reserved.

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