|The Chair (Chap: 1-2) (standard:science fiction, 2999 words)|
|Author: Cyrano||Added: Feb 23 2012||Views/Reads: 3030/662||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|Tom Schofield is grieving the loss of his wife, a best selling author. He moves around the house, perpetually mumbling to himself and, he believes, is on the edge of insanity.|
My father wakes most mornings with nothing but a blank space for a brain. After a shower, wearing shorts and ‘t' shirt, he'll wander around the home; collect the paper off the drive, read a line or two about Mr. Obama's strategy to get re-elected before throwing it loftily toward the bench on the white fenced porch, then move through the house some more. At age sixty his hair, what there is left of it, is whitening; a whiteness that also characterizes his neatly trimmed, once red, beard. On the walls of the home hang many paintings remembered from his childhood, mostly those last ones his mother painted before she succumbed to a long illness, and which now hang alongside photographs of his own children and grandchildren. It is a strangely beautiful house that I was fortunate to grow up in, filled with all kinds of treasured absurdities collected from our travels, or from the beach below the house, and among modern conveniences: computer, printer, scanner, and other tragedies of technology. Fingering the bookshelf through months of dust he selects a book at random, blows off the spine and looks at it, lingering, caressing his fingers over the author's name embossed in gold. Katherine Schofield, my mother, was a woman who had seen her work sold and acclaimed all over the world and now Dad handles the book as though it was a first born, and the first let go into the world. He pushes it gently back into its place alongside others, tapping it a couple of times. He had never really understood my mother's creative spirit; always content just to let her be who she was. The once routine of making her that first cup of tea, the one he would make at dawn and sit down at the side of her computer while she would think about the characters she was about to give life to; characters that down all the years had found a place, not only in his heart, but the minds and hearts of her admiring public. The mouse hasn't been moved in almost a year. Night after night, week after week, and month after month he has tossed and turned in his bed. My mother had been so articulate, so expressive and funny. Her friends were the same, Dad recalled, not having seen them since the funeral. There had been phone calls, mostly ignored, letters of sympathy from those who found out later, some of which remain unopened and lying on the table. Yes, her friends were extraordinary people, most of whom my father wouldn't normally give the time of day to but he understood mother's need for that kind of artistic interaction. She once told me of their meeting many years ago and about the weeks that followed. All the uncertainty he felt as to why such a beautiful woman, and she was surely that, would find his ordinariness so attractive, and recalled him asking her that very question. She, to the contrary, smiling widely as she told me the story, simply allowed him to think of himself as normal. She let him ponder that question for many months before she finally insisted he marry her. He wasn't a man of words, and he wanted to say something honest, in the best way he knew how, something to make her know and feel what he already knew and felt, how his love for her went as far as the ocean went. And of course she knew all that. But what he actually said was: Just tell me what to do next. The pitter-patter continues as fog keeps condensing on the pane, though the heavy gray mist has drifted offshore by the time I've made breakfast. Dad looks at it, an omelette, and shoves it aside. So this is where my father is at, eleven months after my mother was killed by a seventeen year old boy talking on his cell phone. I come by the place once during the week, early if I can, to say hi, make a cooked breakfast, and check everything is okay. “You should eat that, Dad. I know you don't start off with a cooked breakfast any other day of the week.” “I don't eat breakfast.” He says, putting both hands on the table and pushing himself up. I could feel the awkwardness, the scared tumble of his heartbeat. “Mum always made you breakfast after doing a couple of hours in the study?” “Well, your mother isn't here.” He snaps back, the words sounding like an emotional short hand. “No, Dad, she isn't here. We are.” Click here to read the rest of this story (294 more lines)
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