This was for a class, and I’m not entirely sure that I like it.
The Living Will
Although the night was as dark as a black cat in the basement of a psychopaths’ mind, The …pressure of the things around him kept him from falling astray of the path which he traveled. Silence followed him, disturbed only by the soft sound of the grass under his feet, as if sighing in relief that he had moved on. The cold night air left unseen plumes of breath trailing behind as he pressed onward.
Almost there. he thought, as the clouds parted, revealing the moon, swollen and silver, that cast its cold gaze on the graves that he tread past, illuminating the names of the unfamiliar dead. At the top of the hill he slowly climbed, a large marble mausoleum looked down over the resting places of the small town of Snyder, its boundaries blurry and marked by remnants of wrought iron fencing that had collapsed from years of neglect.
As the mausoleum grew nearer, the air grew colder, making him regret that he had not invested in the thicker, more expensive, and presumably warmer parka that sported the Gore-Tex label down at the shops. Shivering, he finally stood before the imposing marble edifice and traced his fingers over his family name, engraved deeply into the stone, which defied time and weather to wear it away.
“McIntyre” He muttered as he pulled a large, old-fashioned iron key from his pocket and with a loud clunk, unlocked the door to his family’s sepulcher.
Behind glass panels, brass plaques read the names of those that slumbered within.
“Nathan. I thought I told you to not talk to those wops,” His grandfather spoke from decades past.
“You never saw them for who they were, Gramps, only for their families.” Nathan paused, his eyes passed over the numerous military awards that lay on velvet pads behind the glass.
Nathan pressed on, shoving his cold hands into his parka.
“Come to Nana, boyo. I have some licorice for you.”
Nathan sighed and looked at the plaque he stood before. Delicate needlepoint and lace were displayed and preserved behind the glass.
“I miss you Nana.” Memories of summers spent with his grandparents while his parents “worked through” some issues they had, flooded his mind. The scents of the kitchen, always warm from baking bread or cookies, swam through his memory.
“Don’t cry, Nate. Your ma and da will pick you up soon enough. Nana has some gingerbread for you.”
Nathan stared at his scuffed and worn shoes, deep in thought, before looking back to his grandmother’s handiwork.
“Was I so easy to pack away? Did they not want me?” Nathan paused, surprised at his vehemence, he wiped the spittle from his lips, then in a whisper, “Did they even love me?”
Nathan brushed his fingertips across the cold glass gently, and turned to go deeper.
The next plaque was his younger brother, the prodigal son, beloved by his parents, taken from them by an angry husband who found great offense at his presence in his bed. He felt somewhat relieved that he had left home and sought his place in the world long before William was born. The incessant praise that their mother had showered him had also ruined him, making him narcissistic and vain. He felt glad that he never really knew him, because if he had, the reality of the blatant favoritism would have made him hate him. Really hate. Not just the bitter feelings of resentment when mother rabbited on about Wil when he called. It was this small mercy that left him no feelings either way when he learned about his death. He knew that even in death, Wil would forever be the favorite son.
As Nathan neared the back of the vault, he approached his parents plaque, noting the lack of personal effects with detachment.
“Nathan, you’re going to stay with your Nana during the summer, Daddy and I need to go somewhere, and they don’t allow kids”
“Son, I am disappointed in you, that trashy girl is low class trailer trash”
“Nate, your father needs some alone time right now, so go to your room and do your homework.”
“Why couldn’t you have been like William? He’s so smart and popular”
Nathan turned his back on the plaque, “Goddammit, that’s my wife you’re talking about! That piece of shit William spent all of the family money on whores and drugs, but I’m not good enough?” He pulled a well-worn photo from his walled and pressed it to the glass.
“See them?” he shouted “They’re good kids, they are successful, they married and had kids of their own, but you’d never know because you wouldn’t even let them in. I’m glad you died before they ever got to know you. Your memory dies with me, and good riddance!”
Nathan sat down on a stone slab bench at the rear of the mausoleum, its coldness penetrating the pants and thermal underwear beneath them, numbing his legs. In the corner of his vision, he saw the final plaque, but could not bring himself to read it. The temperature dropped again as the night drew on, causing him to huddle into himself in the darkness, lit only by streams of light from the pregnant moon outside that illuminated the tombs’ plaques.
Nathan whispered, almost silently, unwilling to face the final plaque.
“Who will remember me?”
As if in response, leaves blew in on an icy gust that sounded to him, almost, like
“The living will.”