Burying the HatchetbyHeathen Hemmingway©
** Originally submitted as darkeyeddemon while I lived on the east coast of Florida **
This story is not at all what my readers have come to expect. It was initially written entirely for myself, and long after its' writing it comes to serve a new purpose. I lost a nephew this past Tuesday June the 3rd 2003. He committed suicide, and that makes my black old heart ache to no end. We identified a lot. I can't count the times we came to each other's rescue. We were and still are so much alike. I had myself convinced he was on solid ground before I decided to leave Alabama and start my life anew here in Florida. We shared a lot of the same anguish. The same shame and the same pain. These words are words that I knew were in his heart. We both have terrible drunken bastards for fathers. For that we have paid to no end. For you Michael, I feel some small relief. Your suffering is over. I know as you do that there is no honor or strength in being vengeful. But still yet the lust for vengeance is a human desire. We are all human. And I know from your warm place in forever tranquillity you would forgive me. I don't know what else to say. I love you boy. I miss you so much.
This is fiction.
The feelings are very, very real.
The man stirred in his bed. As the young man stood in the cold hospital room he could sense the sterility in the air. It was so uncommon to see the old man in such a clean environment. He somehow stood out in stark contrast from everything in the room as he lie in the cold mechanical hospital bed.
Somewhere in the room a pump whispered and hissed. The iv bag hanging at his bedside dripped silently. The young man felt a sinister form of pride. Finally, after 13 years. He had the old man in his element. In his territory. He leaned over the old man and spoke.
"I know you can hear me. I came here all the way from Birmingham to talk to you old man."
Feebly, slowly, the old man's eyes opened like the doors of an age old church. Heavy and crumbling. Their eyes met.
"Old man you and I have never seen eye to eye. Today I came all this way to make things right between you and I."
The old man smiled feebly.
The young man smiled in return. He leaned close to the old man and whispered.
"I remember when my mom brought you into our family. You were the picture of courtesy whenever she was around. And when she was not you terrorized me old man. I fucking hated you."
The old man's eyes grew wide.
"I'm not here to tell you goodbye old man. I don't feel pity for you in your situation. I just want to tell you what to expect. You used to terrorize me. You always scared my sisters. You always used my mother like a weapon against the entire family. But all that's ok old man. because as I speak my mom thinks I am up here making my peace with you. Yes, she's here. Waiting. She's down in the lobby with one of her Reader's Digest condensed books in her hand. And for the first time since you came here she feels good old man. She thinks I am up here telling you I love you, I look up to you, I need you. I can live with that lie, knowing that it's finally time for you to face what you did to us all. You bastardized our entire family. You lied to my mother, you hurt us all and slowly turned her against us. I remember so clearly how you used to call me a fag and a queer and a pussy whenever her back was turned, all because I walked around with my nose in a book. Because I wasn't a good ol' boy nor tried to be. You're an ill mannered goddamned animal old man. And now you're time is almost up. You know that don't you? There won't be any amazing recovery or miraculous reversal of your condition. You're blood is hopelessly poisoned. Your kidneys are failing. Your pancreas is shot to hell and your fucking liver is a puddle of blood. Very, very soon old man you are going to die. Right now as I speak there are tortured souls in hell who pity you old man, because they know how terribly you are going to suffer. You are going to burn in the deepest darkest most rotten shit hole hell has to offer."
The young man paused for a moment, seeming to catch his breath. This was taking an awful lot out of him, but it couldn't be stopped. He continued breathlessly.
"And before you go the deacon will visit you and ask you to pray for your soul. But while he is praying of god, you will be repeating his words and thinking of me old man. Loving you is a hell I will never suffer. When I leave here mom will be in behind me. Try to tell her old man. Try to talk. The smoke you used to blow in my face has taken your fucking voice. Your hands shake too much to write. And all the while she will think you are trying to tell her of our wonderful conversation, how we have ironed our differences out, and she will be so happy old man and she'll cry on your shoulder and tell you how proud she is of you. How much she loves you for making amends with me. Just like she told me on our way here. And in the end I have regained my mother and I have disposed of you. People like you have been the poison in my family's blood forever."
With that the young man squeezed the old man's hand and walked towards the door.
"I can't count the times I tried to love you old man. You were always too hard and too mean to love. I will never love or miss you. But I will always love the memory of this night. See you in hell old man."
And the young man walked out the door. As he rode the elevator down to the lobby a tear slid down his cheek. If asked if it was a tear of joy, I think he would have smiled and said yes.
Fade To Black
The cycle closes, but the machine still churns onward. The story never really ends.
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