A quest to make sense of it all. Or a sense to make a quest of it all.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

1-Gibson (from Old Hag story)

Present Day

Gibson sat in the attic, smoking his umpteenth cigarette and watching the sun begin to rise. The poets were liars, he decided. There was nothing special about dawn; just a gradual gray lightening of the horizon. None of the oranges and pinks and yellows that come with sunsets. He stared out the window, not really seeing anything. Just waiting. Waiting on some kind of assurance, some revelation, something, anything, to ease his soul. To give some balance, to stop the back-and-forth in his mind, rapidly switching from a forced dulling of nerves to a grief that sometimes caught him suddenly crying in the floor, in private. Always in private. Mostly he was waiting on an impossible miracle; it was one he fantasized a hundred times a day. He would feel a vibration in his pocket and pull out his cell phone. It would be an unfamiliar number. He would answer and hear Mr. Braelin? This is ___ at Baptist Grace Hospital. Please come in immediately. There's been a mistake. We have your son, Andy, and he's just fine. He didn't die in the fire at all, it was a mistake, isn't that silly? He's ready to be picked up anytime. That call wouldn't come, of course. There had been the body, dental records identifying the ruins that had once been four year old Andy's sweet face. There had been the funeral last week, a preacher saying ashes to ashes, at which Gib had felt something like pure insanity jolt through him and he had to clamp his teeth down on his tongue to keep himself from braying out laughter at the unintentional pun. Had he done the unthinkable and laughed, it would have turned into an irreversible madness that would have him being pried off the coffin and thrown into the nearest looney bin. He had held himself together, standing next to his wife and keeping his hands on his daughter Reed's shoulders. Reed, six years old, was too young to fully grasp everything that was happening, but Gib understood how important it was for him to be strong for her, and for Amy as well. He made it. Directly after the service, he had stood next to the grave as Amy led Reed to the car. His brother had come up behind him and put a hand on his shoulder.
"Thanks for coming, Jim."
Jim had waved a dismissive hand. "We're here for you. Me and Lindy."
They were quiet for a few moments and Jim asked, "Where are ya'll staying ?"
"We're at a hotel."
"For how long?"
"I don't know." Gib stared at the ground. "I buried my son today. I don't know what's next."
"Look...why don't you all come stay with us? We've got plenty of room. I know you don't know what you're gonna do for awhile, but it's gonna take a minute to sort out the insurance and stuff. You don't have to be back at the university til August. You oughta be with family."
"Actually, I've been thinking about moving home."
"Really? What's Amy say about it?"
"She doesn't have to say. She's never liked this city."
"Well come on home for awhile. Think it over."
So Gib had gathered his little family and a few remaining belongings and gone home to Sheridan. Now he sat in Jim's attic, hearing the familiar noises of people beginning to stir below. His phone hadn't rang. His peace hadn't come. The rising sun offered no promises.

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