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|Come the Day (standard:drama, 744 words)|
|Author: Gavin J. Carr||Added: Jun 30 2006||Views/Reads: 1848/0||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|A man loses his mother and his faith.|
Sunlight spilled through the window, illuminating dust as it drifted on eddies of stale hospital air. It was a warm spring day. A day where barbecues were being lit and children's lips were framed with ice cream halos. If life were a novel then it would be raining, he thought. Not just a few drops on the window glass, but a monsoon; a deluge to wash the world clean and drown suffering. But life was not a novel and his mother lay dying in a square of sunlight on a crisp hospital sheet. She had been a big woman. Not fat, but large, with thick workman-like arms and a deep matronly bosom. When he was a boy she would grab him and pull him to that bosom, smothering him, then turning, and scrubbing his face with a tired paper hanky moistened with spit. It would smell of peppermint and cigarettes and he would struggle, twisting to avoid her hand as she steadied his chin. Back then she had been as strong as the tide and as irresistible. But now the thick arms and matronly bosom were gone. All that remained was pain; a knot of yellow skin clutching a rosary; a wraith in a night dress. She stirred, and grabbed the oxygen mask that covered her mouth. Her eye lids fluttered and her eyeballs rolled. She hooked a twig-like finger into the side of the mask and pulled. ‘Jason.' ‘Here, mum. Leave the mask, the doctor says you need it.' ‘Too late...too late for masks.' She coughed and he held the oxygen back to her mouth, letting her suck in the air. ‘Tell you,' she sighed, ‘something...tell you.' He leaned closer. Her voice was low and distant, as though she were pulling away from him, back down the black tunnel of herself. She was adrift on an ocean of drugs. High grade dope that no longer dulled the pain, only the senses. ‘Important, Jason. Remember...remember Him.' He pulled back and wondered who she meant. Could it be his father she was talking about? He'd abandoned them when Jason was a boy, dying in a car accident shortly after. He knew she thought about him; wondered if he would have eventually drifted back. But she had never so much as mentioned his name after he left; she had been too strong for that. He leaned over to ask her when she lifted her hand, the one that held the rosary. ‘There's hope,' she whispered. ‘Hope in Him.' He nodded. ‘That's right, mum. There's hope in Jesus.' She smiled through the mask. He noticed they'd forgotten her dentures. ‘Pray, Jason...miracle.' A miracle. That's exactly what it would take, he thought. Nothing short of divine intervention. A visitation from the Lord himself, come to heal lung tissue and smite tumours, to dazzle with his bedside manner. Paging Doctor Jesus, paging Doctor Jesus, doc Jesus to ward five... ‘Faith,' she croaked, making him start. She put her hands together and looked at him and through him, as if she knew what he had been thinking. ‘Faith, Jason.' He bowed his head and clasped his hands. He thought back to the countless times she'd dragged him to mass. The wasted hours of standing in pews and sitting on benches; kneeling on cushions and mouthing hymns, all the time thinking of sex. But it hadn't always been so. Once, he'd had faith. When he was a boy religion had been a comfort. A balm in the hard times after his dad had left. Well, the hard times were here again, he thought, soon I'll be alone. He closed his eyes and began to pray. The words came slowly, hesitantly - half-forgotten and rusty - but gaining momentum as he continued. ‘Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are thou among women...' You never forget, not completely. The words are burned into your soul and there is comfort there. ‘...blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus...' He had never prayed so hard in his life. With every fibre of his being he begged for a miracle, longed for it until it was an almost physical sensation – a tingling of the nerves and rictus of the muscles. He willed God to come as though He could be psychically forced to comply. ‘...and at the hour of our deaths. Amen.' He opened his eyes and looked up. His mother was dead and so was his faith. The End. Tweet
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