Sunday, July 12, 2009

Entry #76

Age Ingrat
by Beth Harar


He used to be a fine wine. Aged perfectly, his philosophies dripped of honeyed fruits and each thought had a unique aroma. People paid to taste his knowledge.

But today, as Marsha maneuvered around the worn furniture, she noticed that his eyes were pale, as if they’d sat too long in the sun. He was staring at a woman perched on the edge of the sofa across from him who was stroking a stuffed animal, crooning to it softly.

“Dad?”

No response. Only vacant eyes, clouded with sediment.

“Dr. Child?”

His focus sharpened. “Is it time to go?” he croaked.

“No, Dad.” Marsha sat on the footstool in front of him and picked up his cracked hand. He smelled like dampened earth. “You pulled the fire alarm again yesterday.”

He frowned, but his eyes were bright. “Did you see me?”

“No, they called last night and told me you tried to run away. Down the street.”

“They can’t keep me here,” he spat, the vinegar returning as he jerked his hand away. “Why won’t you people take me out of here? I have patients to see.”

Marsha watched his trembling fingers reach towards the table next to him and closed her eyes. She’d seem him perform that same, absentminded act before, while he read his medical journals. But back then, he’d been searching for his wine glass.

“Would you like your water?”

“Please,” he murmured, his amber eyes becoming opaque. “I’m thirsty.”

25 comments:

Sarah Laurenson said...

Awwww. How sad. For both of them. Well done!

JR's Thumbprints said...

I knew the setting of your story after reading the first two paragraphs. Nice portrayal of the father and daughter.

The Preacherman said...

That's me when I'm old.

oops....

That is very touching and I worry it may be me and my daughter down the line.

She's sensible I'm...er....not?

Love this writing big time.




Four Dinners

laughingwolf said...

lost my mom to alzheimer's... :(

Laurel said...

This was heartwrenching.

Aerin said...

Heartwrenching, bittersweet, all of those but - my GOSH so well written. Really skillful. Brava.

Catvibe said...

This was beautiful and touching and very easy to relate to. I'm taking care of my dad right now, I could see it going to where this story took me. Great job.

Chris Eldin said...

So sad and poignant. I felt as though I were there...simply and beautifully written.

Katherine Napier said...

Ahh... you got me. This is a very well done piece.

Beth Harar said...

Thanks for the kind comments. I'm really enjoying all the entries in the contest!

Aniket said...

This is a great piece, Beth.

I like the fact that everyone who reads this finds a connection to this piece, including me. To me, that's the best form of praise any writer can get.

Hailing frequencies open!

Hoodie said...

This is a masterfully crafted piece, my dear. Excellent. A real thrum on my heart strings.

BernardL said...

It's only hell getting old if your mind goes. You captured it well.

joaquin carvel said...

this is really well crafted - emotionally intense but unsentimental - which (i think) gives it teeth. i also think this is a great example of how skilled writing can infer as much as it states - there is no mistaking where we are and what we are seeing even though we are not told directly.

i'm only sorry it could only be 250 words - i want more of this story.

pjd said...

Echo all the other comments. My only point of confusion was that when she said "Dr. Child" I didn't know if she was talking to the man or the woman. (I know, I missed the stuffed animal as a comfort and thought maybe it was a tool of the trade.)

I was too young to understand really when my grandfather suffered Alzheimer's, but I remember bits and pieces very clearly. It is very sad.

Beth Harar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beth Harar said...

pjd - she is talking to the man. He didn't respond to "Dad" so she tried "Dr.Child".

Dottie said...

This is great, Beth. I understood the Dad to Dr. Child reference. Original yet universal.

JaneyV said...

As is the experience of many I too lost my mother to a brain degenerating disease. The hardest part of it is that you 'lose' your loved one long before they die. I think you handled the subject matter beautifully with great respect. Thank you for that.

Anonymous said...

Very moving and true to life.

Tara

Jade L Blackwater said...

Wonderful illustrations of both characters.

Rabid Fox said...

A dark little ditty. Well done.

McKoala said...

Beautifully drawn, great use of detail.

jason evans said...

So well done and very poignant. T living in his brain more than anything else. Very memorable.

Perfect score.

Congratulations on Third Place!!

Jaye Wells said...

I appreciated the original take on the prompt as well as the poignancy of the story. Congrats on third!