‘Til Death… Well Maybe
A Flash Fiction By
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A story for my husband, lest someday it should be about my husband
Bedtime was always the hardest. It was the time when they would talk freely about their days—no worry of little pitchers or big ears, either one. Now, he unscrewed the cap of his toothpaste with a lethargic twirl and stared vacantly at the empty sink while he moved the toothbrush in methodic circles from one side of his mouth to the other.
As he leaned over to spit the foaming mess from his mouth to the sink, he locked eyes with the specter in the mirror. The doctor would be on him again about eating. He filled his gaunt cheeks with air in a vain attempt to give his face some girth. It was no use.
His older daughter Candice would be by to check on him—her new Saturday morning routine. Every time she came, she would smile widely at him, her big brown eyes sparkling as she’d say, “hey dad! I was just in the area and thought I’d swing by.” Then, she would spend the next hours checking his mail, and forcing him to write checks for his bills, and then she’d finish up the morning by tidying the house. That done, she’d be gone and the vast emptiness opened up and swallowed him anew.
The following afternoon, his youngest daughter Lizzie would come in like a hurricane: all bluster, and noise, and affection. Truth be told, she did the bulk of the messing up that Candice insisted on tidying. Lizzie always came in bearing food, despite the fact that he’d barely put a dent in what she’d brought the previous week.
At least, Lizzie made no pretense of spontaneity. After she’d unpacked her grocery bags, he knew the lecture would follow. Lizzie had told him regularly since their mother had died that mom would have been so disappointed in him.
He didn’t understand what he was doing so wrong, he mused as he ran tired hands through thinning black hair. He got up every morning and went to work, except weekends when the plant was closed, and while he was there he worked tirelessly until he came home and all but fell into their bed, his bed, to sleep. By all standards, he was a fine upstanding citizen.
His daughters both begged to differ. They told him that after 7 years, he needed to ‘get back out there’. Joke’s on you girls, daddy was never ‘out there’ to begin with. It was a rare chance and pushy friend that dragged him out of his apartment the night he’d met their mother, and that done he had zero need to ever venture ‘out there’ again.
He pulled his soft pajama shirt over his head and felt it hanging loosely from a frame that it had once hugged. He remembered the somehow fierce and yet gentle touch of the only woman he’d ever loved, and for the briefest instant, he swore he could feel her touch. He shook his head ruefully and switched off the bathroom light.
As he walked in the dark to his bed, he heard the whisper of his feet over the carpeted floor, and he could have sworn he heard her voice whispering gently in his ears. “Do you miss me, baby?”
He couldn’t help but answer as he laid his head down on his pillow. “Every second of every day,” he murmured gently as his eyes closed and he fell asleep.
She brushed the hair gently from his forehead and brought icy lips down to his cheek in a delicate good night kiss.
I hope you have enjoyed , and I also hope you will leave a review of this story. As a writer, I am always looking to grow or crow. If you enjoyed it, please tell me so I may crow. If you found my writing lacking in some way, please tell me so I may improve in the future. As always, thank you for reading!
Summary: When exactly is the right time to let go? A chilling tale of a love eternal. Flash Fiction.
“Lucinda,” the screech could be heard throughout the settlement square, followed by a high pitched and melodic giggle. Gallia was a small desert settlement in the Terra II System and the flat dusty ground carried the sound as effectively as any microphone ever could have.
A small, ochre faced child peeked out from behind the fruit stall, her pointy chin jutting out defiantly. “Yes mama?”
The screeching woman visibly attempted to calm her nerves, smoothing ruffled golden locks the exact color of the impish child’s own hair, and laying a calming hand on her rapidly rising and falling chest while gulping in great gasps of the dry desert air. “Luce, you cannot put small birdies in mummy’s bag.”
Luce’s tiny, eager face fell, “but mama, he is hurt and he needs our help.” Sensing her mother’s hesitation at her magnanimous plan she hurried on, “and hasn’t papa always said those who can must do?”
The woman smiled gently down at her well-intentioned daughter. “Who am I to argue with the logic of father?” Then, frowned thoughtfully at the tiny little ball of feathers she’d found while searching for her payment card so she could purchase the produce for their evening meal, She wanted to ask the feathered conundrum whatever they might do to help him, but worried she might appear silly.
Ah-hem. The cough relieved the lady from her reveries, and she raised amber colored eyes to meet the coffee colored ones of her husband’s most trusted advisor. “Madame Jolie, perhaps I could carry your feathered friend to Dr. Ani. I’m certain he would be pleased to help the bird along to a full recovery.” His smile was conspiratorial as he took the bird in his large brown hands.
“Why thank you Captain Aiden. That would be most appreciated.” Madame Jolie sighed with relief—glad to be rid of her ruffled burden.
“Oh yes, thank you very much Captain Aiden, that would be most appreciated.” The child’s voice chirped happily as she followed the man instructing him in the sweetest voice on all the ways the bird needed tending.
“Luce,” her mother called her back gently her transaction was completed and they needed to be heading home immediately.
They walked back to the Main Quarters Compound. Madame Jolie found herself in a delightful haze, basking in the brightness of the late afternoon sunshine. As they walked, the dusty ground barely stirred in the gentle breeze and Luce’s childish humming was a perfect soundtrack to the lovely day. She was startled when Luce’s sweet tune turned into a happy screech. She looked up to see her daughter attempting to tackle her husband. She smiled and meant to hurry forward to join her lovely family, but rushed to meet the ground instead.