Monday, October 8, 2012

Old Man (GBE 73)

“Ah, there you are.  I didn’t think you’d come today.  It does an old man good to see young people now and again. When you are the oldest sailor on the dock, you never know if you’ll get another chance.  You did bring the beer?  Good. ”

“Your mother well, I trust?  You know her and I go back many years.  When I first met her, she was about your age and I was still bit older.  I was working down on the docks and she was a waitress in a diner.  I’d get off and have a bit of supper.  I didn’t have a girl then.  I had lost mine to fever a few years earlier"

“Anyway, your mother would serve up me up stew and beer.  I always wanted to ask her out, but never could get up the nerve.   She was a pretty one, back then.  Then I caught mate’s position on a steamer and left town for a while.  It was about a year and half later I was back.  By then she had left the diner and gotten married. That would have been your sister’s father, I think.   My loss, really”

“I would see her now again and wonder how she was doing.  I hardly ever saw the husband.  There was a rumor he wasn’t good, but I never pried.  Soon, I saw the pram and the hints of bruises in her face.  The she left for a while.  Not sure where she went. “

“The she came back, with you and your sister.  She didn’t have a place to stay, so I put all of you up.  Your were so little, you wouldn’t have remembered it.  Most of the time she was drunk.  She had left because her husband had killed a man and she thought she would be next.  She never did say anything about your father.  Like it was some secret or another. “

“She stayed for a while and I held her while her tears flowed.  I guess my job was healing.  At the same time, she was healing me and my loss.  It did go to love and I was happy.  Then I woke one day and she was gone again, not to be seen again.  I thought it was my fault, but in a dream she came back and said all was well and thank me. “

“You probably think this was too much information, but it is important that I tell.  Our time is short and our stories expire with us if unsaid. “

“Now, drink that beer.”

(c) Christopher H. Mitchell 10/08/2012
Picture Courtesy of The Morgue Files



  1. Quite a story. That would be a bit much for someone to hear about their mom and dad.

    1. Yeah. I used to sit with an old homeless guy when I was in college. You couldn't always tell if it was truth or booze talking, but it was certainly entertaining.

  2. I expect the old man you sat with spoke true. And yes our stories will die unless we tell them while we can. Isn't there a song something like that?

  3. Very intense story. Nice take on the prompt.

  4. I think that would be a lot of info and I feel for the listener, but wow, what a nice way to tell his story. From his own mouth and obviously from his own heart. Well done, really well done.