He was looking out the kitchen window. The dirty glass separating him from the garden. Outside it was sunny, the warm rays spread themselves across the glass. Light and warmth from outside seeped in. A small smile pulled at the left side of his lip. It was early spring, the perfect time to plant out the seeds he’d spent the winter growing on the window still.
He heard the letter box swing open and be stuffed with something, probably bills. There’s always bills. He turned and walked forward. Waddling like the old man he was. His hips aching and his knees battered by age. He constantly asked himself, when did he let himself become an old man? He wasn’t there yet, but his body was slipping ahead of him.
He bent down to pick up the letters that had scattered on the mat. Muttering to himself as he did. His rough fingers traced their way across the letters. It’s always bills. Until he looked at the last letter. It had a hand written address. It was addressed to him. He looked at the scrawl trying to see if he recognised it. The curled letters brought nothing to the front of his mind. He ripped open the letter, curiosity locking it’s jaw around his mind.
As he read the letter, his insides were slowly hollowed out like his guts were hacked with broad sweeping steps. The other letters and the torn envelope fluttered to the grown like a dying butterfly. His old hands shaking with small tremors.
I’m taking your lack of reply as a hint and this shall be my last letter.
He hadn’t seen any other letters. He didn’t know the full image, the letter only providing snippets of the story. It told him enough.
Footsteps ran down the stairs heavily. The slowed as they reached the bottom and approached him.
“What’s wrong?” She asked concerned. He turned to look at her. His eyes clouded with confusion and tight tears. Her eyes fluttered down to the letter. Her eyes flew wide with panic, followed by a wave of shame. She turned and walked towards the kitchen, flying like a bird from a cat. He looked at her for a second before following. The bills left littered on the floor.
“Do you know about this?” He asked putting the letter on the table in front of her. She turned to face the window as though the letter offended her. Her silence spoke loud.
“Is it true?” He asked.
“I don’t know everything-”
“What do you know?” He cut her off. She didn’t look at him. Instead her eyes jumped around the room, never looking at anything for more than a second.
Outside a blackbird jumped around the borders, pecking at weeds. It’s beady eyes scanning for food. It pecked at the bright green, spring growth. It could barely hear the rising voices inside the house.
“You knew about all of it?!” He spat in anger and shock. Her eyes darted away.
“You knew!” He stated the confirmation. His tone left no argument.
“Why would you keep this from me?” His voice broke as the anger couldn’t carry it to the end of the sentence and sadness and hollowness took over.
“We thought it would be better for -”
“Don’t fucking lie!” He said his hand slamming into the wooden table. It shook on it’s old legs a little. The letter jumped away from his hand with the movement.
“You just wanted to fucking lie to me.” He said.
“I wanted to keep you -”
“Bloody lies!” He shouted. He wanted to hear the reasons, the cover-ups, the lies. He also couldn’t stand a single word she said. Every sound from her lips hurt and bruised deeper.
A thick silence settled and smothered them. A fog that swirled in and out of their lungs. Choking her with soot from the guilt fire that blazed in her heart. Drying his throat like a desert wind. Neither spoke. He let his head drop forward. His accusing gaze falling with it too. He was too old and tired to maintain it, but it was still there. They both knew it.
He left the room, marching out with curses muttered under his breath. He strolled into the garden. The grass gently stroking his shoes. The garden around him bathing in the sun, drinking in the light like honey. He sat down on the old garden chair. It sunk and sagged under his weight.
He looked around the garden. Looking at what he had built and nurtured into reality. Potential appearing and making more potential. What is potential other than something lost. Something he always lost. The seeds wouldn’t survive in the ground, the plants would die, the flowers would stop blooming. As though his eyes gave them damnation as he looked at them.
The grass was very green, the sky was extremely blue. And it disgusted him, because he knew the truth.