He Was 87

By Richard Davis

HE WAS 87 years of age and lived on his own in a small home reduced to the size of one ground floor room. All he owned in this world was contained within this space. He had the walls, the floor, and the ceiling around him at all times. Positioned in one of the walls was a window. The old man slowly paced over to the window and looked out at the garden as he had done for many years. It was an unattended mess of weeds and overgrown shrubs, plants, and trees. It was his beloved wife’s garden. She had worked hard to make it a place of beauty. Wonderful colors, lush shrubbery, blooming flowers and a couple of stone statues and a stone bird bath. She had green fingers and a great sense of how things grow and of the space they occupy. When she died, he decided to let the garden fall to wrack and ruin. Year upon year of neglect as if he was punishing the garden for taking so much of her time from him. It had not mattered to him then, and he had enjoyed the fruits of her labour, but it mattered to him now. He resented the garden and wanted it to rot away. When he turned from the window he was back in his space of warmth and safety. Of solitude and isolation. Of dust and decay. He had not stepped outside the room for many years and knew his life would come to an end within this space with her watching him, waiting for him to join her. This gave him comfort and calmed his anger. The world outside was unfamiliar and he knew nobody in it, so he drank wine to remind him of the past and of the many places they had visited together. Sometimes the wine made him sleepy, and he thought death was coming for him. Sometimes the wine made him angry or sad. One night, when he had finished his wine and the darkness had smothered the garden, he knew he would fall asleep for the last time and smiled to her.

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A British writer who now sees himself as a European writer, RD has worked in print, online, comics, film and TV. His other writing is inspired by video games, soccer, Burroughs and Ellroy, fine wine and films.

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