Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Gift

We need a word for Friday.

I will share another of my vignette style short stories:

This one is called The Gift.

image found at Mrs. Rogers blog

            He drove into the country to look at barns. He liked his job but he couldn't say he loved it. He liked to go looking at the barns because they reminded him of when he would paint or sculpt. He never painted landscapes or barns but just looking at the barns made him feel connected to that time when he felt artistic. Those were the days he and his wife would drive into the country together because she loved the barns. They had dignity, she would say. She would talk about how she loved the way farmers would leave a barn up till it mostly couldn't stand on its own any more and sometimes even then they would leave it there till it crumbled to the ground as though there were some deep significance in it. She would talk and talk for hours as they drove and sometimes she would grow silent, suspecting he wasn't interested. She would say she was sorry and that she knew she talked too much. But he was paying attention. He was concentrating on every single word. He wanted to memorize everything about her, all her thoughts and the funny way she could start out talking about barns and eventually come around to talking about the garden she wished to plant or the teacher she spoke with at the children's school.
           It was as though he knew she would pass away and he would need these words, these memories in tiny details. But he didn't know, couldn't have known. He had thought at the time that he would memorize these moments, all her words that she spewed out rapidly, so that when they were old he could retell them all to her one by one. That was how it was supposed to be. They were supposed to get old and go for quiet, crooked walks. They were supposed to sit together in their little house, drink wine and giggle at their younger days. It was those times he looked forward to and wished to save up all the wonders of her so that he could tell her why he loved her all these years. How each year felt as new and thrilling as the last. He wanted to tell her the story of how he watched her hair turn from the honey blonde to velvety silver. How her eyes never changed one bit, down to the little spark. He wanted to be able to hold her fragile hand and help her up the stairs. He thought they would always have this ahead of them and so much to look back on that he would remember each tiny piece of her to give back in those later years, a gift he could spread out over weeks and months and years of sharing creaky bones and thinning hair. Now he only had these things for himself and instead of a gift to her, they were a knife in his heart. He wondered if one day, when he had finally gone gray with hardly any hair to show it, if then this gift would be to himself and no longer a pain that caught in his breath.

Let's use BONE(S).

1 comment:

jaded said...

I <3 the flow of this. For a brief snapshot of time, this is a rich narrative revealing more to the imagination than the narrator does with words. I enjoy work that allows audience participation.