You can keep your bread and crackers. I don't need them. I will keep my whiskey. I will drink it in the study, TV on, volume down. In this house there are no voices, only echoes. There is only the sound of growing old.
Days splinter. There are casseroles and strangers, Arrangements made with scoured phrases. There are dotted lines and perforations. Sign here. Initial there. Between, there is an elemental stillness. A wedding band. A broken wristwatch. ATV that broadcasts to an empty chair.
On my shelf sits a stack of photo albums, catalogued and labelled volumes 1 - 9. I lift them down, run the pages between my fingers. I find her there in profile, arms folded, one hip jutting, right where I'd first placed her, midway through volume 3.
I rise early, drink coffee by the window, gaze at nothing, lost in used-to-be. All this, and yet there are things I still believe in. I believe in Autumn gardens, jazz playing in the background, hair twisting round a finger, lips pursing, saying, Yes.
I need time. That's what they tell me. With this I would agree. I need to grasp time, squeeze it tightly, and when I feel it slipping, when I grow weary of its passing, I need to stop it, hit rewind.
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Published in Blue Five Notebook, June 2012 Flash Special
Reprinted as "An Empty Chair" in the Linnet's Wings