resurrection (flying fox)

Posted on September 19, 2009


The city grew around the small brick house like an oyster around a dark pearl of uncertain nature. Inside the house, the two old people moved little as if saving themselves for a long journey. Outside, the brown village road turned high and black when the city swallowed the suburbs and spread its tentacles, touching more and more lives, eating more and more bodies, tying people and animals to its rhythm: ca-choom, ca-choom, ca-choom.

Mother lost her speech today. She wouldn’t talk when I brought her breakfast and she hadn’t called, which normally would’ve worried me but I was so deep in my thoughts, mostly about how very much everything, anything needed to change that I must not have heard her if indeed she did call. Which she might not have. I could see that she hadn’t just lost her voice but that something worse was going on because her eyes were wide open staring at me with what I interpreted as fear, and she moved her mouth like a fish, opening and closing it at equal intervals … at first I was shocked: mother, I said, what happened, can you not speak? But of course she couldn’t or she wouldn’t, and so she didn’t shower me with accusations this morning and it was  as if, in a tick, my inner clockwork was relaxing. I felt lighter and almost giddy because now I could talk with no fear of being interrupted or scolded:

I really enjoyed the sunrise this morning, mother you know and there was movement on the street which woke me early, perhaps it was a fox, I thought, but foxes don’t come so close to town, and then I realised I didn’t even know how close to the centre of town we were now and I looked for a map but you know what, they were all really old as is almost everything around here because neither you nor I have done anything about it since father died, I said, and I didn’t really want to stop talking at all.

He did die, didn’t he, I said, all of a sudden unsure. And mother, whose eyes had assumed a calmer expression, perhaps because she was beginning to resign herself to the fact that now I was doing the talking, all the talking, though her fingers were nervously tapping or trembling, I don’t know which, or both (so that I could see she was dying to speak!), mother nodded and began to cry. Fine, I thought, let her cry. I did miss father, too. And then it all poured out of me.

We live in a morgue, I said (I don’t know where that word came from), and you’ve kept me by your side for the longest time but I’m fed up now. I once wanted to become one of the best of men, and all I did become is your wheezing caretaker with nothing but a chair to call my own, and a window to look out of. I didn’t mind when I was twenty, I was still restless at thirty, a little too lazy to do anything else at forty, felt desperately unattractive and unwanted at fifty, and since my sixties I have felt too old to do anything ever than wait, but now, forty years on, I’ve had enough and my life must finally begin.

Mother shook her fist at me and made efforts to get up. I pushed her down. You don’t have the leg muscles, mother, you’d fall and break something and I don’t even know a doctor anymore or how to get one, I said. There had been no need – longevity and good health sheltered us like curtain shutters, kept us alive and well without pills and medical miracles.

I wanted to get out there and see what humanity had done in the last hundred years.

I am going to get a paid helper for you, mother, I said, and I’m going to move you to the basement.

© 2009 finnegan flawnt, continuing where reclination (chair man) stopped.

Posted in: arthur icarus