Friday, March 28, 2014

Visiting the Old Man

The following is a work of fiction. The characters are fictional.  Any resemblance of characters to real people is a mere coincidence and unintentional.

John stopped short of opening the door.  His hand was on the nob.  He paused.  Some nurses walked passed him.  The room was where the man was.  Where the Old Man was.

John remembered.  How could he forget.  Each sound of each blow made him weak.  The screams from his brother's room causes him to cry. Then the bladder gave in and released its contents.  His brain, then, acknowledged that the situation was serious, too serious.  At the time, John was too young to do anything about it.  The best thing he could do was to remember.  He swore to himself the Old Man was going to reap what he sowed.  The Old Man would never touch him.

His brother, Charles, was never quite right.  Charles had plenty of flaws.  It was not the time for psychologists then.  No.  Psychologists were for those crazy people.  Those crazy people out there.  Not here, not your own family.  John never considered, then, that perhaps some professional help could be helpful.  The Old Man wore a cast on his arm and Charles a large lump on his forehead.

"I'm leaving," said Charles.

"Where will you go?" asked John.

"The City."

John understood he meant Charles was going to be homeless.  Charles was a teen and John was not quite there yet.  Charles left, suddenly and without any more warning.  He came back after a few months, but time doesn't heal all wounds.

When Charles left home for good, John knew it was only a matter of time.  When the time came, he was ready.  He made his plan and worked it.  Invariably, the confrontation came.  The Old Man's anger flared.  John stood fast; looking just as aggressive as his opponent.  The coward backed down.  John felt a sense of empowerment.  He had won.

Years passed and Charles had jobs but could not keep any of them for very long.  What goes around comes around, and Charles ended up homeless time and again.  The crazies had psychologists, but Charles had no one nor did he want any.

John tried to improve himself through the years.  He graduated from High School and College.  He realized he had his own demons and sought out professional help.  He was not going to allow the Old Man to screw him up, not before and not now.

No, I cannot go in.  I cannot let him have the peace he seeks. John stood at the door in the hospital.  His hand was on the knob.  Let him go alone, all alone.  This is the last blow. The war is over soon.  Let him loose with no one.

John took his hand off the knob and it clicked shut.  He took a deep breath and walked away.  He walked into his own life leaving the old life behind.