Tuesday, September 2, 2014

He waited for an hour.




He waited for an hour. 

He was sure one of his sons would come; despite everything he’d always been a good father. Sure he hit them, sometimes to a pulp, but that’s how you instilled good behavior and responsibility back in the day, that’s what being a good father entailed. The last thing he wanted was a foolish son roaming the streets; nowadays, there were enough of those. The first one, he didn’t have the height for sports, but he had the brains. The last one was too skinny, too sensitive to be anything special, a poet at best. It was the middle one, the middle son who he knew would amount to something special. He was counting on it. His daughters had never crossed his mind as a possibility.  

 There was an incident once; the scenes would come to him in the least opportune times. They had had a wonderful day and it culminated to one defining moment in the car when he asked the boy to talk to his mother, ask her to come home. She kept leaving and he needed a woman to take care of him. Who would iron his shirts and make sure dinner was ready by the time he’d come home? The boy would not even consider it, so he lost it. The remains of their leftovers, from the wonderful restaurant they had gone to laid splattered throughout the inside of the car, while the boy cried, bleeding from his nose. Kids today, they were too disrespectful for their own good. 

 Weeks and months passed before he realized how confused he was about everything. He had been headed somewhere important that morning. He knew it was important because he woke up feeling very determined about it; first thing out of bed he got dressed in his best slacks and crisp tan shirt, ate his fried eggs, and headed right on out that door. All of a sudden he was on the interstate, terrified, not knowing where he was headed or where he was coming from. He had to pull over, just to control his shaking; he felt embarrassed about it, but he knew someone would come. 
 
 He waited for an hour. It felt that long to him but he had lost all concept of time in the past few months. He knew his sons though, knew them well enough and was sure one of them would come, so he waited, looking to see if the tall, lanky figure walking towards him was one of them, preferably the middle one. He recognized that walk anywhere. As the minutes passed he started to panic, at this point he would have been happy to see one of his daughters.

At home his phone was ringing. He hadn’t brought it with him, one of the many things he kept forgetting, though the thought of calling somebody hadn’t crossed his mind. Forgetfulness had turned into complete mental omissions. It started with misplacing things, not recalling his grandchildren’s names; then it evolved into forgetting the faces of colleagues he had known for years. 

Physically he still carried himself with the essence of his charisma, his stallion youth. He was always a proud rooster. At one point he was courting the finest ladies on the island, and that was a great feat for a man who wasn’t the best looking to say the least. Besides his penchant for all the fine ladies, he had another problem, and that was that he picked them way too smart. Back then smart women all became teachers since there were no other choices for them. The one advantage he had was that they were also raised in his patriarchal culture, and believed every sweet talking lie he told them. In the end, they had his children, but never stuck around long enough to deal with his unscrupulous behavior. 
 
 There’s no point in having any regrets. He did what he did because it was the time, it was how he was raised, he was proud of it, proud of his charm and ability to talk to anyone, he had delved into politics for a bit, but now, now it was hard for him to follow even the simplest of conversations. He kept forgetting things but it wasn’t a big deal, not to him, not to his sons, not to anyone that cared, not until now. 

 At home his phone was ringing, it rang and rang while he sat by the side of the highway waiting.









23 comments:

  1. So good to see you posting again, Patricia! I've missed your writing. What an inventive take on the prompt. You did a great job depicting the character's troubling memory loss -- I assume it is Alzheimer's or something like it. This sentence especially struck me, I think because it becomes clear here that he can't remember anyone's names: "He knew his sons though, knew them well enough and was sure one of them would come, so he waited, looking to see if the tall, lanky figure walking towards him was one of them, preferably the middle one." The "middle one." Beautifully done.

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    1. Thank you! I am glad you were able to see the illness that was affecting him, I wasn't sure if that came through. Your words mean a lot to me. Thank you!

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  2. Good, good writing. The story unfolds seamlessly. Well done!

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  3. Such a sad story. You capture his raw emotions so well. The ringing phone at home gave this piece the anxiety as a reader, we need. Good one!

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    1. Thank you for your comment! I am still trying to balance between the elements of a good story and all the raw stuff that comes out of me.

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  4. I like it :) It's well written, and you were able to paint a deep, credible personality with a few strokes. Congrats!

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    1. I like how you phrased your comment! :-) Thank you.

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  5. I had a discussion about this the other day. How as children, relatives, friends we are reluctant to admit to ourselves that our loved one might need help. As a result we just let them be. And when we do it allows them to find themselves in a situation exactly as you have described here. I hope he gets out of this one all right and that his needs are recognized.

    Well written story.

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    1. I wonder how much of that decision making process as a family is affected when that relative was not really a great person too. Thank you for your comment.

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  6. We discovered so much about this man and his life in your well written story.

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  7. Well done - this story hit home for me because I recently lost someone to Alzheimer's. It is such a sad disease because you lose the person they were before they actually pass away. Heartbreaking.

    You captured it well.

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    1. I am sorry for your loss. It is an awful, horrible disease. My grandmother had it and it was tragic to see her degenerate from a strong powerful woman to a child. Thank you for your comment.

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  8. You wrote about the attitudes of an older man very well here, Patricia. His writing off of the youngest son only becoming a poet - not anything special and judging his oldest son by his lack of athletic ability. Both opinions offended me. I know that's what you were going for. Then when I found out about his illness, my attitude softened. You took me on a roller coaster of emotion with this one.

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    1. I am sorry to offend though please know the character's thoughts are not mine! :-) Thank you for your comment.

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  9. Great job painting a picture of a man who is both hateful and pitiful. Well written and believable. Nice work with the prompts! :)

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  10. What a complex character you have created. He is so awful and I really hated him, but then you managed to earn him some sympathy. That's a pretty amazing feat for 750 words.

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    1. Thank you so much! I voted for your great story. You are an inspirational writer.

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  11. Patricia, this is a beautiful piece of writing. You embraced your writing full on with creativity and also borrowed moments from your own reality, especially on a very delicate and emotional (depressing) topic. Knowing you, your writing is very much a reflection of who are you. As a reader, I was engaged in this story… and you allowed your language to flow in a simple yet profound way.

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment!!

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  12. So awesome to have the time to get such an awesome read!

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