|A Swift and Victorious Skirmish Against the Cashtruthian Philosophy (standard:other, 1465 words)|
|Author: kupecz99||Added: Oct 03 2000||Views/Reads: 2352/1308||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|Sally's folks are dead and "Uncle Nick" is a fool, but he saves Saly's life when she needs it.|
Sally could hear soft noises of him down the hall, shuffling back and forth a bit then the groaning creak of the bed. He must be taking a nap, poor guy. She'd always called him Uncle Nick though he wasn't any kind of relative, only a boyhood friend of her father's. Long as she could remember he was always over to the house a couple of times a week and he always took the time to make her laugh. She was Sally to everybody but him, who always called her Sarah or Babe. She was really sad when he took a job out of town two or three years ago when she was what? 9? 11? Not just sad for herself, but for him who had no wife and no children of his own. The family had a big dinner in the afternoon like Christmas or Thanksgiving although it was hot summer, and they all cried when he drove off, his car packed up to the roof with stuff. Since then, they'd only seen him a couple of times a year. The house was so quiet now after all the people, so empty, and Nick felt empty and sad also. He was going to change but when he sat down on the old sprung bed in the dark little spare room he said "Fuck it." It was OK just to sit there in the quietness, like a tree growing in the middle of the woods as if his whole life was there and would be till he keeled over. Then it passed. He threw his few pieces of laundry into the open suitcase, took his wallet back off the dresser and left. His heart jumped when he came to Sarah's open door and there she was, looking so... half-grown, standing in all the pinkness and flounces with streaming sunlight rubbing her pale round face till her cheeks were red and igniting the blonde hair that fell over her forehead like a boy's. "Hi, Uncle Nick," she said. For a man he was not very big, hardly taller than her and hardly any heavier -- who had always seemed so big and solid to her. He looked little and old this morning, like an old-country man in his black suit and the soiled white shirt, his thin face creased up and down like a used, folded newspaper. She realized he was getting old, there were gray strands in his black wiry hair. And he looked like a surprised thief, unsure, rattled. "Sarah." He said. "I thought you went over to your Aunt Mary's." She mumbled something, looking down at the floor. "What?" he said. Then she noticed the suitcase in his hand and looked back at him with sullen, burning, defiant eyes, her mouth set in an imitation smile. "No," she said, "I'm here." "You should go, Babe. Come on, I'll drop you off. It'll cheer you up." "I'm fine," she said, "I'm fine here. "It's all bull, anyway. Cheer me up. Right. Let's have another drink and pretend everything's normal," then she couldn't stop; the words came spurting out of her, clear and hot, "they all sit around and lie and pretend to be sad. And pretend to care. And all they want is to get back to their cozy little life... and their GOD DAMN FOOTBALL GAME... and their shopping... What bull." She saw that he was little and weak. A very ordinary man. "And you can sneak away. Where are you going anyway? Didn't you ever notice that funeral starts with F... U... N...? Why don't you stay for the fun?" He turned away into the hall. "I meant to say 'take your mind off of it,' or something like that. The words just came out," he said, thinking about something else, he didn't know what, and started to walk away. He was already so sad. It stung him that she could sound hard and mean, practicing to be an adult, trying to be like so many people he tried to stay away from, even though it made his life lonely. He thought his life was going to be lonelier now than it had been before. He stopped right there with the suitcase hanging from the end of his arm and spoke without turning back to her. "I just realized something I didn't understand before," he said, not speaking up, more or less not even speaking to her. "You have to practice what you know." He grunted in assent to that, "If you keep pretending things are Click here to read the rest of this story (84 more lines)
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