We hadn’t spoken to each other all the much since the passing of our father. People found that strange when they heard we lived in the same house, but we found it necessary. We were like zombies, not quite dead, but surely not still living. The fading pulse in our wrists would beg to differ, but nothing about us felt alive. An exasperated groan had become our only means of communication; we think that meant hello? It all depended on how long the groan was held. If it was short, than we assumed it was goodbye. As long as our father’s goodbye had been drawn out, five years of cancer, at least eight months of nothing but crippling pain, there was no need for our goodbyes to be the same. We both knew we weren’t really going anywhere.
Max would retire to the basement, while Sadie would fade into our father’s room. We didn’t know what the other one did while we were hiding away nor did we think they cared. There was nothing connecting us at the moment other than pain, and that wasn’t something you could build a healthy relationship on. We were aware of the fact the same blood flowed through our veins, which was connecting in itself, but that wasn’t enough for us anymore. We had started to resent each other for no reason other than that fading pulse that meant we were alive but that our father was dead.
Six months crept by, pulling us along by our coattails until we reached the last Monday of May. Memorial Day. It wasn’t a special day for us though it was a recognized holiday of the United States. This day was all about tradition. An extraordinary day? No. But it was the day that our father would take us to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. We didn’t care much for the memorial, having lived here out entire lives and having it at our fingertips. We only obliged our father year after year for one reason and one reason only; we liked feeding the ducks.
This Memorial Day was sunny but not too sunny. It was hot enough, as if to remind us that spring was slowly bleeding into summer. Max drove us to the memorial, and circled the same strip of Constitution Avenue seven times before parking. Sadie understood why he did this. It was something our father had done, for one reason or another, and something we felt obligated to repeat. We each grabbed our own loaf of day old bread and followed the slight breeze to the murky pond that was situated in front of the memorial. The ducks, anticipating us like one anticipates relatives during the holiday season, danced amongst each other as rowdy children chased them off the lawn and back into the water. We barely noticed we had grabbed each other’s hand until we had to let go in order to open our respective loaves.
We sat there for two hours that morning, feet touching the mossy bottom of the pond, feeding an assortment of mallard ducks. Some had dark green on their heads while others were tanned all over. We liked the fact that they didn’t know about our grief but seemed to share it with us. Tipping over our bags, we dumped the last bit of crumbs at their webbed feet and vowed to be back next year. If it was one thing we had learned about today it wasn’t that feeding ducks was a miracle. It didn’t erase our pain or make our pulses beat any faster. There was no guarantee that feeding the ducks meant we’d have a better tomorrow. What it did was give us two hours; two hours where we felt connected by something other than our pain and the blood that coursed through our bodies.
--I wrote this as an exercise for a forms of fiction class I had. I was supposed to write using "we" and this was the result. I have since turned this into a twenty-page short story, which I will consider posting once I have made the appropriate edits. :)
Created: Jun 29, 2010Document Media