My friends thought it was a big deal that I was flying out to Los Angeles for a call back on a film. I had the initial audition when the director was in New York. A month later, he called to see if I was still interested. I was. I didn’t have anything else going on. The trip would also give me a chance to visit my father. I hadn’t seen him in years.
There was always a queue to get in, too many drinks in an easy pub before hand and you were in trouble. You had twenty stairs to practise your date of birth. Even at the bottom of them you could hear ‘You Spin Me Right Round.’
He died on a Friday.
The July heat was already pouring in through the weathered old screen as he perished quietly in his slumber. He’d always insisted upon the open window, even on the very coldest of nights. His wife would wrap herself in layers and layers of electric blankets in those days when they still shared the same room, time and circumstances causing them to slowly drift apart in their sleep.
Thirty-nine years as husband and wife. Decades of laughter and illness, heartbreak, and euphoria gone in the span of a single heartbeat. She would never know what did him in, only that he slept. She found him there in the first blush of morning, leaving the room before turning back and placing her hand gently on the bedroom door. The new day opened up all around her, petals on a withered flower, as she realized they would never see their fortieth year together. Continue reading
As he drove past the wall, he didn’t look at the flowers. People were still laying them on the indent. He hadn’t.
His mind was flooded with memories, he tried to choose some from others but failed.
Lewis wondered how many people ended up under a mile from where they ended.
21 June 1943
Emma Wick had been beautiful for life. Even at seventy-four she had retained her figure and carried herself with the grace and confidence of someone much younger. For nearly half her time, however, there had been an icy quality about the lady. The few persons who knew her attributed this remoteness to the closely occurring losses of her daughter and husband, many years before. Only Emma knew the truth. She had lost her Mary, who had lived just five years—to a bad case of it having been 1906, more than anything else; but she was the reason why her husband, Robert, lay in his grave since 1907–which was a circumstance that she had never considered anything more than addition through subtraction.
‘Turn off the light, Susan.’ It is early morning and the cold has crept into the room through an open window. Susan doesn’t reply and I watch the plumes of her breath as she sighs gently and turns the page of her book. I put my hand lightly on her arm, ‘You must be exhausted, you’ve been reading all night.’ She glances in my direction, a hint of a smile flickers across her face which then twists in confusion. Her mouth gapes and her eyes begin to well with tears that drip on to the book’s white pages.
She cries a lot because her teeth are gone. I hold her, though I am furious she is so diseased. I imagine one day she’ll be pretty like before. Maybe she’ll let me make her all over again.