It’s a Great Time to Continue; Extinguish

The old man held tight to his lapels. He had gotten them at an estate auction after a good friend had died. They had belonged to his friend, and whenever he started down the road to anguish, he held onto them and thought about times when he felt different. He thought of the large fish he and his friend used to catch. The smell of the morning, the leaves wet with dew, the coffee brewing on the stove before he would bungle to his car and make the drive and find his friend and hold his hand and whisper in his ear and pretend they were the only ones in the world and look at each other and smile and, and, and… He would remember how his friend’s fishing hat was always cocked to the left, yet his hair was parted to the right, and his eyebrows were flecked with silver and his ear pierced from a day long gone, and how the fishing tackle smelled like dirty water, and how he bled once trying to remove a hook from a fish’s mouth. He would look into the mirror and and study his own features and examine his moles and imagine his ears without hair and think of his cracked lips and think of his cracked lips. He’d think about how he and his friend could have been brothers, even if distantly similar in looks. His imagination took him to great places, where his friend and he were young and young, and young, and traveled the world by bus by train by boat by life. He could list the great cities they visited and provide facts about each: how many people lived there, their GDP, their average rainfall, when the city came into existence; a dancing girl here, a liqueur store there, a late night that turned into a lighted, alcohol-crippled morning where his friend’s eyes would sit squarely on his and they’d dance until the warmth held them prescient and conscious among the morning stalkers, and they’d smirk and think nothing in the world could ever get between them; the time they spent was more than creating a memory based on friendship, how it was a life they were building in secret. Love, between two men, in those days, was nothing anyone would have accepted. They both acknowledged this and simply fished. Every weekend, for forty years.

His heart swelled and dropped out of his chest the day his friend died. He sat alone in his bedroom and cried for what seemed like ten years. He thought of love and removal and television and Bonnie and Clyde, and listened to oldies and ate bologna and cheese and drank diet soda, and as he gripped his lapels early one weekend morning , gently rubbed them between his forefinger, the revolver in his other hand clicked then banged, and his eyes met the ceiling.

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~ by Shawn M. Young on July 21, 2014.

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