05 August 2010

"Second-Sight" #Fridayflash



Photo credit: rosevita from morguefile.com


He’s hummin’ a little tune as his ears follow that clickety-clack of his walking stick . A white extension of his black self. Dark-leathery skin contrasts with the brilliant white stick, with them red stripes. His nostrils flare. Bertha has fresh pie waiting at the diner already. Coffee. The papery scent lettin’ him know the Sunday edition is waiting in his customary spot.

“Well howdy Nate, got your pie right here,” Bertha says, loud, because people think that blind people is deaf too, he don’t know. He nods and smiles at the sound because he don’t know if Bertha is a pretty missus or a miss or if she’s—

Blackberries. His nose fills up with berries and his hands fall to the table right where his fork and napkin sit because that’s where Bertha’s put them as long as he can remember. She always givin’ him the coffee for free. He tries to tell her sometimes it ain’t right but she laughs and takes his money and gives back the wrong change anyway.

Nate. He was born Nathaniel, but he’s been shortened to Nate, and now it just don’t matter anymore as long as they don’t call him late for his pie—supper—he’ll be just fine. The door jingles. Bertha changes it out every so often. Christmastime she has a set of sleigh bells and he smiles because sleigh bells just sound so pretty. So pretty.

Erma’s gone. Been gone for fifteen years. He still has the old house they shared, still talks to her sometimes just to have sound. He don’t like radio anymore really. It isn’t music. It just isn’t. He hangs up his hat where the old mirror used to be ‘til the night Darcy was born; Erma pulled it down during one of her contractions because it hurt so bad.

The pie settles a little off. He opens the refrigerator with the same creak it’s had for a decade or more since Darcy collapsed in front of it when her heart failed. She’s got a nice job somewhere in Chicago. Pacemaker saved her life.

Maalox is right there on the shelf and he takes a cold chalky swig. Closes the door. Turns to go up the stairs. Halfway up he pauses with a grunt. Leathery black hands let go. Everything is static. Static and hissin’, but it’s the rush of water and he opens his eyes.

Erma smiles down at him and he touches her glowing cheek. She’s just beautiful to look at.

23 comments:

Eric J. Krause said...

Excellent story! The little details throughout really brought it to life. And it's nice he's now found peace and can be with her for all time. I enjoyed this a TON!

Carrie said...

HI guys. Eric thanks for reading. I think I could have done a much better job with this but work is being...worky. Feel free to tell me how I can improve this piece, I figured I'd start with the colors.

Laura Eno said...

I think it's beautiful, Carrie! Loved the details and it ends on such an upbeat note (especially for you...LOL!)

Sorry to hear that work is being worky.

brainhaze said...

Lovely, just lovely, bless him. Now they can all eat pie in the sky - gorgeous detail makes this feel so warm

Linda said...

Oh, I am so bawling right now, The ending, that ending... bows in your direction. brava! Peace...

Gracie said...

You slay me again. Perfect, gorgeous piece exactly the way it is.

Just love everything about it. Splendid writing.

And sorry work is worky. :)

afullnessinbrevity said...

For me it is the sensation of all the other senses apart from sight. Yet reading it I can so vividly see.
Great read.
Adam B @revhappiness

Maria A. Kelly said...

Great story, Carrie! I'm wiping my eyes right now. So beautiful. Love the ending. :)

John Wiswell said...

I think the colors are the last things that need improving. They're the soul of the piece right now. It's mostly a question of getting these colorful folks into a series of actions. Get 'em to the end of the rainbow, so to speak.

Bukowski's Basement said...

Is there such a thing as a Carrie Clevenger piece that needs work? Um, I don't think so! Fine the way it is...

Sulci Collective said...

Wow Carrie does romance!! What a great voice this story has. Have you ever done podcast or audioboo cos I'd love to hear you read this?

Terrific
Marc Nash

ganymeder said...

Beautiful.

G.P. Ching said...

Perfect voice. I think everyone has said it but the details brought this to life for me. Read it twice.

jdanetyler said...

Really nice job of painting little details and letting those fill out an entire picture for the reader. Great job!

Cathy Olliffe said...

Like John, there's no way I'd change anything about the colours.
Would you consider, maybe, not killing him off? There seemed to be a nice relationship brewing with the diner waitress... maybe not romantic, but a deeper friendship. Although with an old guy like Nate, it's inevitable.
Worky or not, though, you've written some nice words, Carrie. The little touches are pure Clevenger - the blackberry pie, the sleigh bells on the door, the papery smell... all very good.

~Tim said...

I love this. The first "he don't know" in the second paragraph seems out of place to me. And I like Cathy's idea of not killing him off at the end.

mazzz_in_Leeds said...

I love that you used third person in such a first person way, if that makes sense.

My work is being worky too, stoopid worky work o.0

http://mazzz-in-leeds.com/2010/08/chieftain/

Deanna said...

Carrie, this is absolutely gorgeous. I too think it's perfect the way it is - I wouldn't touch a thing.

My work is being worky too - we lost an employee and a replacement was not approved, so guess who gets to take over those tasks? If only we didn't have to make money!

Icy Sedgwick said...

I think this is very beautifully written, and like Maria, I enjoyed your 'first person' used of third person. Very daring, but you pull it off with your usual aplomb. I don't even see this as a sad ending because you put some beauty in there. Wonderful work!

Rachel Blackbirdsong said...

I love the details throughout, it really added to your story. Excellent read as always. Sorry about your job.

J.C. Montgomery said...

It's so hard leaving a comment after so many others have. What can I say that they haven't?

All I'm left with is: ditto, ditto, ditto, and...oh yea, ditto.

[sigh]

amharte.com said...

I am late to the game on this one, and all I can say is it's beautiful and made me shiver, and there's really nothing I can add that hasn't already been said.

易強青易強青易強青 said...

愛情是一位偉大的導師,教我們重新作人..................................................................