- Vol. 06
- Chapter 06
The morning started with a numb pain. An odd confusion.
I finished my coffee, and set the cup and saucer in the sink.
Told myself I’d wash it later. Mistake. It’s like in the movies,
when a guy makes plans for the future — says he’ll marry
his sweetheart, well … the next thing you know, he’s
written out of the plot. But that’s movies. This is real life.
I took my usual shortcut across the football pitch to work.
No games played until Saturday. It was empty as a box.
I looked up into the stands, and on my life, there was
my old dad, seated high up in the cheap seats.
I waved. He waved back. That’s when that numb pain
shovelled through again. I fell on the still-damp grass,
still cold from the night. Me, dead-still as stone.
I watched the ground fall away below me. Watched
Dad wave at me. Watched a trainman’s torch swing
in my direction. Glowing, bright, brighter, brighter still,
and I walked down dusty lanes, and saw my mother
hanging laundry to dry on a line. She glanced up,
just long enough to ignore me. And there was Dad,
in his garden, an iron spike in hand, thrusting it
into the hard clay soil. He was never able to work
that ground into anything other than hard clay.
After he died, Mum started buying all her vegetables
at the supermarket. She said she had nothing to prove,
so she wasn’t going to kill herself working Dad's soil.
And then I saw my first grade teacher, the one who
checked our feet for verrucas. She smiled. Made me
feel instantly uncomfortable. I realised I was dead.
There’s a lesson here. If you don’t want to be written
out of the plot, don’t leave unwashed dishes in the sink.