The following is a piece by RjCook that appeared some years back in our Story Land page. If you have any poetry or short-short stories you would like us to consider for publication in our Story Land page, submit them through our Contact Us page.
His sheet has nothing to do.
It covers a frail figure of a man that we called Daddy, but so little of it is needed that I’m sure it’s bored with doing what it does now. Sad irony for such a grand bed sheet!
It lies desolate, formlessly atop his body, on the rented hospital bed, in the living room, out of the way. It has lain there motionless for a long time.
There was a time it spread royally on the master bed. Once it was used to cover the couch, so father could fall asleep watching television late at night.
But…wasn’t he a much bigger man then?
It’s been stretched in a tug-of-war between him and his children, its white-blue fabric resisting the one-sided pulls and yanks, before it was sent sailing into the bodies of screaming tots when father let go and laughed.
But…wasn’t he much stronger then?
It has been wrought with the tears of family, the tears of children grown who have left the nest, and the tears of friends. But most of those tears are dry now. They remain, seeped in the minute weaving of linens, blotting the woven landscape.
How glorious it would be to be cleansed anew! To be hung from the line in the garden again, to feel the cadence of insects walking across the surface, the impact of leaves striking it in a breeze, to feel the sway as birds come to rest on the taut rope above. Just once more to be left out all night and bask in the moon’s glow and the dawn’s cool light.
But…that was a time that has past.
From every doorway we can see how even the weakest of his movements sends ripples through the uneven surface, cresting at the yellowed edges and sending their pleas of mercy out into the room – striking at our conscience before we can turn away. It is then our tears fall, but too far away to dampen father’s once proud and magnificent shroud.
RjCook’s is the author of The Road Behind Me and Dream Lover and Other Tales. Click HERE for info.
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