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Ether

April 25, 2017

The room was quietly noisy with static from a television that seems to have found a place between here and there. A scoff of old emerged from a drunk man’s gullet. Everything from the beginning of mankind leads to this moment, and it is seen as a fond distant journey. The timing of appreciation died with a single thought of self-importance. The drunk man stood in the doorway and hummed to himself. His voice has seen better days, and this was truly one of the worst. A couch sat worshiping the TV screen in all its grained vision. Static suffered and fried around the room audibly and visually. He hadn’t noticed when he took his seat. 70 was a terrible year to be alive, and this man found himself to 80. Years of torture tenured his life. It was a hissing headache and brittle joints that crippled the man’s experience. His left knee was significantly worse, but he tells the tale fondly.

She was a Philly. A real go-getter. Nothing more to say really. She would go from calm to an extreme anger in 1.2 seconds. I got into an altercation with an angry man over the Philadelphia Eagles. She stood next to me and escalated the argument, and the next thing I remember is a stool swinging towards my direction. I lifted my knee, and you would think that the stool would break. My knee did. I flew backward as she flew forwards with an empty beer bottle. It broke over the man’s head, and we got out of that bar as fast as my hobbled hopping could get us.

The pins in his knee throbbed with pain. It was an especially cold night. He missed her every day, and it only seemed to grow. His memories were the only thing that made him feel anything. Besides the pain, his brain was particularly numb. Nothing seemed to phase him. He was tired and beaten, which depressed him but gave no solace. Her name was Bridgette, he never necessarily liked that name on a woman, but it didn’t matter with her. She changed its meaning for the poor soul. While she existed on this Earth, she filled this curmudgeon with joy and love. At the age of 67, a car careened through a stop sign and rolled its weight over hers. There was no fight to be done, she died that instant. He had no children and no living family. He was truly an anomaly. A man with no future. A lineage that will die on this day. Maybe for the better, but most likely on deaf ears.

I never understood why God would do this to me. I lived an extroverted life in his grace and wisdom. Yet, he wanted me to suffer. I do suffer. Every single day I feel the life draining, and yet the pain gets worse. I think about Bridgette, and I feel empty because she’s missing. There’s no reason for me to be here. I exist for what purpose? I would love to come home and have a house with people who love me in it, but I don’t, and I’m too old to move on. So, I exist. I’m waiting to die…

He was 70 when Bridgette died. That’s when life stood still and each year stretched along long pauses of pain. He hadn’t noticed how badly his knee and other joints hurt until she was gone. He spent his days and nights alone. Nobody came by to visit him and month by month social security checks piled up. Barely used. He would go for a walk and return home to the same nothing he left. He sat on his porch and watched cars drive by. Sometimes he would even count them, most times he’d pity them. Breakfast consisted of oatmeal and lunch was a sandwich. He never ate much because he never exerted too much energy.

Over the years I’ve learned that God was a joke. I was taught that he made us to worship him and live a noble life. Bullshit, God was created to make us act right. There’s no heaven or hell. All there is is this. The more I ponder and think about existence, and what I do in the world I come to the same conclusion: I’m not here for a reason. 

The night he died was a blessing. He was drinking for the first time in a long time. He didn’t know that it would be his last, but he felt partially joyous for some reason. He woke that morning knowing that something was different. Something was going to change, but he didn’t know that was going to return to the Earth. He wouldn’t be with his late-wife, but they’d be a part of something bigger: the ether of the world.

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From → Short Stories

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