Friday, May 6, 2011

Mathias’ Journey

    The old man sat in his chair, watching the twenty-four news channel, trying to hear the latest on the elections in Russia. His sons and daughters, as well as their spouses, sat on the couches of his living room. They talked over, under, and around each other, creating a web of sound that was impossible to follow. He reached for the remote and turned up the volume. If the TV was loud enough, then perhaps he could at least pick it out from the myriad of sounds coming from everybody.
    One of his sons got up from the couch and leaned in towards him. He said something, but the old man couldn’t hear. He leaned forward in his chair and turned up the volume on his hearing aid, but that just amplified the noise around him. “What?” he finally said, seeing that his son was getting frustrated at his lack of response.
    His son grabbed the remote and turned off the TV. Everybody stopped talking and the old man heard his son say something about dinner. “Yea, let’s go eat.” He lowered the footrest on his chair and slowly stood up. His legs ached as he hobbled towards the kitchen.
    His wife was still in there peeling potatoes.
    When he turned around, he saw his son following him; his head listed to the side, and he looked confused. The old man felt embarrassed and tired. He didn’t want to go sit back down, having gotten up and made a fool of himself, so he turned towards the liquor cabinet and said, “Let’s have a drink.”
    He took out a bottle of brandy and a pair of shot glasses, filling each one only half-way. No use in drinking too much. The longer he could go without having to make a trip to the store, the better. He toasted with his son then made his way back to his chair.
    The old man looked out the window where his grandchildren were all playing a game of football. He smiled and closed his eyes.
    When he opened them, he was in his own backyard with many of his long-dead friends. They were playing their own game of football at the far end of the field. He watched for a moment, and when they waved him over, he took a step forward. His legs didn’t feel sore, and he could bend his left knee for the first time in many years. He took another step, then another, and before he knew it, he was running.
    The wind rushed through his thick hair that bounced with each step that he took. When he reached his friends, he felt the exhilaration of catching his breath and the pounding of a strong heart against his chest. They began playing, and he scored the final winning points in the waning moments of the game; but this wasn’t what he wanted. 
   He thanked his friends as they piled into the couple cars parked out front and waved as they drove away. As they disappeared on the horizon, he walked back into the yard. 
   There, he looked up into the sky and watched the white, puffy clouds stream across sky and there in that moment, he felt like somebody was calling him. He could hear his name broadcast off in the distance. From up above he heard it again and started running then jumped up into the air where he took off, flying towards the heavens.
    The old man opened his eyes and was back in his chair with one of his daughters standing over him. His hearing aid took a moment to adjust but he heard her say, “Dad, dinner’s ready. You ready to join us in the kitchen?”
    The old man looked around at his children and grandchildren gathered in the living room, his wife holding one of their infant granddaughters. “Yea. That sounds good.”


Sulci Collective May 6, 2011 at 3:15 AM  

I liked the notion of his deafness so insulating him from this world, that it carried him over into a totally new realm and way of seeing

marc nash

John Wiswell May 6, 2011 at 8:06 AM  

I really liked the line about "They talked over, under, and around each other...." That's particularly evocative in a setting where people anticipate a political outcome. I've been there several times.

Icy Sedgwick May 6, 2011 at 8:08 AM  

For a second, I was worried you'd killed him off, but instead you just gave him a lovely dream.

Spotted a minor typo - "couple cares" instead of "couple of cars".

FARfetched May 6, 2011 at 10:43 AM  

There have been times I'd like to be deaf. :-) Nice dream-drift, and it seems to me like he had a choice to stay with his friends but he chose his family in the end.

Sonia May 6, 2011 at 3:22 PM  

Aww that's sweet. Liked the dream, too/

Chuck Allen May 6, 2011 at 4:53 PM  

I enjoyed this little daydream. I thought he was dying too, but was glad when he woke up.

Michael A Tate May 6, 2011 at 4:56 PM  

SC: interesting take on that, but I suppose it's easier to take a nap when you can't hear the people talking around you!

John: Yea, that's probably my favorite line too.

Icy: No. I promised myself that I wouldn't kill anybody this week. (That would sound weird out of context)

FAR: Bingo. You hit exactly what I was getting at.

Sonia: Thanks, and I'm glad you liked it.

Chuck: Glad you liked my happy little twist!

Helen May 6, 2011 at 10:37 PM  

Wow I really expected him to have died, so the ending was a surprise. I felt a certain tiredness existed in the old man and yet the segment that carried him back to his friends where he could run again, seemed to express to me a longing to catch the past just one more time. I'm glad he didn't die.

Adam B May 7, 2011 at 6:30 AM  

Wonderfully cinematic writing, and like John, liked the line about talking over, under and around.
Adam B @revhappiness

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