All is quiet in his pristine house. He sits at the kitchen table listening as Cat
approaches, her gimpy leg dragging on gray tiles, orange tail curled in a
question mark. Cat rubs against his leg
and he wonders which of them enjoys this brief moment of touch more.
He lifts his teacup from its saucer and takes a small,
tentative sip before setting it back onto the saucer with a satisfactory clink.
The refrigerator buzzes.
The heat kicks in.
The clock marks time from its post above the stove.
But time no longer matters.
He sighs and unfolds the newspaper. He pulls out the style section and studies
the pictures. He likes the close-ups. He likes to see everyone smiling.
He runs a brittle thumb over the image of a couple
recently-engaged. “Listen to your
hearts,” he tells them. “Don’t get
caught up in careers and money and silly concerns.”
The couple continues to smile. Not a care in the world. He studies the backs of his weathered hands;
hands untouched, uncaressed, unheld by grandchildren. “Listen to your children,” he says. He hopes that they can hear.
Cat meows, demanding to be fed.
He rises and goes to the pantry, selects a can without
looking. He opens it and sets it on the floor. Cat begins to eat.
He returns to his newspaper.
“We share time and space, you and I,” he says, staring at all the smiling
faces. “We have not met and yet, I know
you. You are full of goals and ambitions
Years ago, he told his wife that all he wanted was a bit of
peace and quiet; to somehow dull the constant thunder of children’s screams and
feet thumping up and down stairs. All he’d
wanted was a bit of order; a sliver of silence inserted into his day.
“I shall go to the cemetery today, Cat,” he says, looking up
from his paper. “To visit my family.”
The cat sits and licks a paw.
Labels: fiction Trifecta Writing Challenge