Monday flash fiction time! This Monday’s edition of flash fiction is our song edition. Song is from Ellie Goulding and titled “How Long Will I love you.”
And based on google suggested searches the answer for Ellie Goulding is, “Not very long.”
Here are the participating writers and happy reading.
Usually there are scented candles burning and visits are in the evening after a lovely dinner, not early in the morning when the morning fog is still present around the garden. It had been about a week since my Dad’s funeral and there wasn’t a rush to attend to the house. It was already so well maintained with only a slight mess of mail on the counter. They answering machine around the corner was blinking five messages. I picked up the phone and checked the caller ID only to see the calls were unknown numbers and most likely telemarketers. Dad complained about them regularly and screened his calls to avoid them. I simply unplugged the machine and phone to avoid any disturbances. If anyone needed to get a hold of me, they would have my cell.
I continued through the house opening doors and closets, sizing up the items to be sorted, packed, given away, or sold. A collection of historical framed prints, a couch that sagged slightly in the middle, and the hospital bed would all be sold. Maddie was going to college soon and wanted the spare bed and bedroom furniture from the guest room to put in storage for when she was allowed to move out of the dorms and into an apartment. Aunt Liz was hoping for the car that has been sitting unused for years and my Dad’s friend Tom was always fond of the spy novel library which spanned from the 70’s until only a few years ago. Dad only stopped buying them when he was unable to see the words on the pages to read.
The sound of a car’s tires rolling over the loose gravel collected at the end of the driveway is clear through the silent house. I looked at the clock and it was almost 9:15. Early for the day but 45 minutes later than the agreed upon time. I suppose I should just be happy my brother showed up at all. A moment later Doug pulled himself through the front door with a gas station coffee in his hand and the strong smell of aftershave, what hair he has left was still damp.
Doug sipped his coffee and winced from the heat. “I brought the truck and Logan is coming later to help pack.”
“Your truck? How much do you plan on taking?”
Doug opened the coat closet and pulled out a leather bomber cut jacket. “Hey, he said we could take whatever we wanted and we get first pick so why not? Look at this, Dad use to wear this all the time.”
“I remember but, he stopped wearing that one years ago and he gave the newer one away before he died. What are you going to do with this? It won’t fit you. Why take it if it’s just going to sit in a box and rot somewhere?”
He put his coffee down and slipped on the jacket. The shoulders were wide for his frame and his torso too short. Doug zipped up the coat and flattened the puffiness of the extra fabric against him. The only part of the jacket that fit were the sleeves. The cotton cuffs settled perfectly at his wrists but otherwise he looked exactly as he was, a son in his dad’s jacket. Doug looked through the pockets and pulled out a piece of paper. “Car wash receipt from 1997.”
“Told you he hasn’t worn it in a long time. Just put that back.”
“No. I’m taking it. I’m taking all of these coats. I am taking the furniture too.”
I looked behind me to the couch with the sag in the middle. “Why? The grand kids were going to take this old stuff. The estate sale is suppose to take care of the rest and the money is going to be divided up. There isn’t much here and what isn’t really of any value. At least not to any one other than Dad.”
“I want to put it in my basement and set it up just the way he had it here, you know. Kind of like a way of hanging with Dad, drinking beer, watching the games on Sunday.”
“It’s just stuff.”
Doug stretched out his arms and the jacket hanged off him with the surplus of extra fabric. “It’s not ‘just stuff.’ It’s Dad’s stuff.”
“Dad’s gone. It’s just stuff now.”
Doug crosses his arms. “How can you say that. Do yo hear yourself? He cared about these things and you should care about them too.”
“Just because he did? I should care about that jacket because he liked it enough to buy it and wear it? There are hundreds, thousands of jackets just like that one. There is nothing unique about this other than he wore it. He isn’t here to wear it anymore. That’s the difference. I want to see that jacket on him and I won’t. So it doesn’t matter now who wears the jacket. I’m leaving the jacket because just owning it and remembering him in it, won’t bring him back.”
Doug picked up his coffee and walked to the living room. “More for me then. But, I’m just saying, it’s easier to remember him when you have things that remind you about him once in a while.”
I walked toward the open closet door when something caught my eye. “I’ll always love Dad for the rest of my life even if I had the opportunity to keep a hat of his that says, ‘Boobs and Brews – Beer Fest 1975’ on it.” I placed the hat on my head and it sank down pushing my glasses down my nose before I was all the way into the living room.
Doug looked at me and smiled. “Love Dad for the rest of your life with or without mementos, that hat is just foolish to give up.”