Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Sometimes flying.

With his straight back, anxious eyes and bulbous forehead, David is the perfect reflection of his father. Like his reflection, David has only ever known one woman and one vocation; both of them hard work, he often whispers to himself.
His wife of nine years, Sally, shares his mother's name and her penchant for cask wine and artificial meat sticks she calls “Tony’s”. David has never asked why they were called Tony’s and, as such, has never understood the nickname given to these meat sticks that his wife devours by the kilo.  
Most nights, when David returns from the roads, he receives a brief embrace followed by a stern order to fetch more wine, or if he’s flush, a bottle of brandy.
Sally was too young to drink so much, David thought. And it wasn’t even her reflection, or father, that was dying.   

Like his father, David only bore one child, a son. Michael, unlike his father and grandfather, was born without the bulbous forehead and was not yet in possession of the anxious eyes.
But, as repetition would have it, David’s son was a keen diver, just as he had been.
"Watch me, Daddy, watch me", Michael would plead from the 2m board. But David exercised his parental right to ignore his son's request, and never watched Michael enter the water from a great height.

And not that any of this is relevant, but it wasn't long before, like his father, David began to die inside.

So, staring into his reflection, David smiled. He took the apple juice from the hospital tray, peeled back its lid and savoured its sweetness. Then he read aloud a birthday card that sat next to some dehydrated flowers and lingered on the final sentence: “Happy Birthday to the father just like me”.

David knew this would be the last chance he got to say goodbye to that straight back and taught face. Levering himself from the vinyl chair, he planted his first and final kiss on his father’s bulbous forehead.
And with that, with his reflection dying beside him, David forced open a window and looked down on the emergency department's entrance below.

If only his father could have seen how perfectly flat he'd fallen.