Four empty pill bottles sat on the desk in the dusty office, in the basement of the empty house, where the man known as dad had lived for Ninetyfive years.
The man named John cleaned up the messy office and moved slowly from room to room, remembering childhood in this place. It was a happy place till the woman known as Mom had passed. Then it became an infrequently visited place.
John thought, “Was that regret?
Then said out loud “Stop it, man; you did everything you could do from across the states to help the old man.”
Hours later, outside, a handyman was fixing the rain gutter, another person was putting up a for sale sign. John walked to the middle of the yard and turned to face the house.
John thought “Are those tears? Was he really missing this place?”
Then out loud he said, “For god’s sake dude, buck up.”
This time the real-estate agent responded, “Excuse me.”
“Nothing. I was mumbling to myself, sorry. I think we are good right. I’ve got the inside cleaned. Now, Remember as is, no concessions and nothing less than the asking price. I’m not in a hurry, and maintenance is not an issue,” John said, drying his eyes on his sleeve.
“Are you open to fixing minor items as I run across them,” the Realtor asked?
“Yes, just let me know what it is. Then, I will make a decision item by item.”
On the plane, he looked at the photo he had taken from the wall of the old house. Everyone was smiling, even the old man looked happy. John closed his eyes and began to sob. He was unable to stop.
John thought, “I am so glad I flew First class.”
When the Flight Attendant came over, he held the photo up and explained, “My father just passed. I am headed home after putting his affairs in order.”
John found himself wondering, “who will put my affairs in order? No wife, no kids. Do I need to think about this now?” He shook his head and sat in silence till the plane landed.
When he arrived home, he hung the photo on the wall in his study and placed the four empty pill bottles on his desk in front of the computer monitor.
© 2021, T. Mark Mangum T. Mark Mangum, a product of the unimaginable worlds of Star Wars, Star Trek, Conan, and the Lord of the Rings. Lover and writer of fiction tales. He is a Veteran, a father of six, and a game enthusiast.
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