She couldn’t remember the last time she’d seen the stars. Clouds wrapped the whole town in a tight embrace, not letting any glimmer of light come through or get out. No Lights, No Lights played on the radio as she drove from the grocery store a few blocks away to home. Normally she would walk the distance, but the prospect of rains and the squalidness of the place in general had forced her to use her car instead.
The song seemed fitting… No lights in your bright blue eyes… She thought of her father, a ghost of his younger, buoyant self. She used to often joke about how she would still be trying to match her Dad’s pace at hikes even after he turned a hundred. But her father was only half that age and needed support to walk a few steps. Of course, from a philosophical high ground, life is never fair, there’s worse suffering in the world. But to see her Dad dwindle away before her eyes in a matter of weeks as she helplessly watched was brutal in its own right. Her mother was his strength; she was in fact, the binding force that held everything together. Everything was a blur – the accident, the call at midnight, her father’s hollow, sagged face when she met him outside the ICU.
It had been six months since that day but little had changed in the interest of normalcy. What was originally planned to be a few weeks’ stay with the old man kept getting extended one week after another until she finally came to terms with the fact that she had to move back in this dingy town she had been so desperate to leave since she was young.
She didn’t admit it, but all this was taking a toll on her. She didn’t want to be cross with her Dad, she didn’t want to say the things she said to him before dashing out of the house and on to the grocery store. She had rehearsed a calmer, gentler version in her head so many times, but had never said it until now, in the hope of a more opportune time. When her thoughts did find their way across, they came out as a blow, not to heal but to harm. It was all true of course; rage is but brutal in its honesty. He had been selfish, self-consumed, unwilling to look beyond his own grief at others’ plight, at her plight. She had a whole life ahead of her and here she was tending to a perfectly healthy grown man who would not even try to make it easier for her.
As always happens with anger, regret of the harshness of ones actions dawns after nothing can be done to reverse their impact. Her heart sank as her words replayed in her mind. How they would have broken him. If only she held her resolve to let it go one more time, if only she let that moment pass – perhaps this could have been averted.
She could hear music as she pulled in the driveway. More melodious than what was playing on her radio. Imagine by John Lennon was her mother’s favorite song. Her father opened the door as she locked the car, came out to help with the groceries. Clean shaven, swollen eyes… his crooked smile doing a sorry job at hiding his tears.
“I… uh… Sorry” He said pleadingly… “How have you been, hon?”
“I miss Mom”, she cried, hugging him.
“I know… I miss her too…”
“I’m sorry… it’s just a lot to handle” she sobbed.
“Tell me about it. Will you stay with me a little longer? I… uh… will make an effort, I promise”, he said fighting back the tears.
It was a long road to recovery for both of them, but it was a start.
I am trying to write again… Thanks Ted for looking out for me…
This is for the speakeasy at yeah write challenge #178. All I am hoping is “to get back in shape”!