A Few Moments More – Julie Cox

May 7, 2009 § Leave a comment

    Death came for me early.  Like any lady, I made him wait.

    “I’m not ready,” I told him as I let him in the front door.

    He pushed back his hood, wiped his feet on the mat and hung his scythe on the hat rack.  He looked like a man in his forties, with a receding hairline and a big Adam’s apple.  There was an unexpected gentleness about him, a patience.  He smiled, almost kind.  “You don’t know how many times a day I hear that.”

    “I’m sure.  Now just you wait there, I’ll be with you momentarily.  Would you like a cup of coffee?”  I asked.

    “Yes, please,” Death answered.  He sat down on my leather sofa, next to the embroidered pillow that said ‘Bless This Mess.’  He admired my afghan, which lay across the back of the sofa.  “Did you make this?”

    “Yes I did, but that was years ago, before the arthritis set in.”  I went into the kitchen, where I had made a pot of coffee a half hour before.  There wasn’t much left; I hadn’t been expecting company.  I poured him a cup in one of my good coffee cups, the Desert Rose pattern.  While I was in there I turned the gas stove on.  There was a gas leak; I hadn’t used the stove in a week.  Lucky that I hadn’t managed to get it fixed yet.  When I came back into the living room, Death was flipping through an old issue of Redbook, chuckling at the anti-aging tips.  

    “Thank you for your patience,” I said.  “Do you need any cream or sugar?”

    “No thank you, I prefer it black,” he said with a friendly wink.  “Just don’t be too long, alright?”

    “Of course.”  I handed Death his coffee, and he sipped it politely while I went around the house.  I brought my step stool over to the hall closet and got my wedding album down, along with the picture of my grandparents, faded to a dull red, the color of the dirt road outside.  Next to the bedroom, where I fished my will and Social Security card out of the back of my nightstand.  I had a roll of cash in my front left bedpost; I got that too.  I picked up the few pieces of good jewelry I had – the real stuff. Most importantly, I got my house insurance papers together.

    I went out to the storm cellar, where I had a fireproof box.  I put my treasures in the box.  I walked back to the house the long way, through the side garden, taking a last look around.  The moonvine was flowering, ghostly white in the glow from the back porch, mixed up with the morning glories and the four o’clocks, which were all tightly closed up.  It was good work, that garden.  I would miss it more than most other things.  

    I went in the side door to my bedroom, where I’d been sorting old sweaters to keep or to take to the Salvation Army earlier that evening.  My body lay sprawled across the clothes on the floor at a very uncomfortable angle.  I rubbed my chest; it still tingled.  Who knew the dead could feel pain?  Having your heart stop is far more painful than most people know.  I knelt by my body and pried the pack of Salem Lights out from under what was once my knee.  I lit one crooked cigarette and drew in a deep lungful of smoke.  I’d been trying to quit.  If I’d known I would die of a heart attack instead of lung cancer, I’d have smoked with more gusto.  I reluctantly put the cigarette down on a nearby ashtray, tilted a bit so it would smolder awhile.  I hesitated, then reached over and straightened the dress on my body.  It had gotten hiked up a little high.

    I walked back out into the living room and smiled at Death, who had just finished his coffee.  “Alright,” I said, “I’m ready.”

    He held out a hand and I took it.  His hand was warm and dry, and it was strangely nice to hold a man’s hand again after so many years.  On the way out I grabbed my granddaughter’s newest portrait off the table by the door.  I hadn’t even had a chance to get it framed.

    “You know you’re technically not supposed to take it with you,” he chided me with a gentle smile.

    “I know,” I said.  “I thought I’d push your indulgence a little further.  Thank you for your patience.  Frankly I was a little surprised.”

    He shrugged.  “I have time.”

    We walked out the front door, across the porch and down the steps to the red dirt road.  Instead of running out into the bois d’arcs and across the creek, however, the road now turned and went upwards, over the trees to the stars, silver in the moonlight.  I gazed up at it and smiled.

    “What’s it like up there?”

    “Different for everyone.  You’ll just have to see for yourself.”  

    I hesitated.  I looked down at the picture of my granddaughter. Death put an arm around me and looked over my shoulder at the picture.  “Don’t worry about her.  You’ll see her again, and hundreds like her, stretching on into eternity.  If you come with me, I’ll show you what I mean.”

    I went with him, holding his hand up the winding silver path.  Behind me, I felt the heat of the explosion, and the sky was illuminated with fire.  I paid it no mind.  I took my last walk, up and above to the beyond. 

ties2Ties- Kelly Jacobi

 

    Death came for me early.  Like any lady, I made him wait.
    “I’m not ready,” I told him as I let him in the front door.
    He pushed back his hood, wiped his feet on the mat and hung his scythe on the hat rack.  He looked like a man in his forties, with a receding hairline and a big Adam’s apple.  There was an unexpected gentleness about him, a patience.  He smiled, almost kind.  “You don’t know how many times a day I hear that.”
    “I’m sure.  Now just you wait there, I’ll be with you momentarily.  Would you like a cup of coffee?”  I asked.
    “Yes, please,” Death answered.  He sat down on my leather sofa, next to the embroidered pillow that said ‘Bless This Mess.’  He admired my afghan, which lay across the back of the sofa.  “Did you make this?”
    “Yes I did, but that was years ago, before the arthritis set in.”  I went into the kitchen, where I had made a pot of coffee a half hour before.  There wasn’t much left; I hadn’t been expecting company.  I poured him a cup in one of my good coffee cups, the Desert Rose pattern.  While I was in there I turned the gas stove on.  There was a gas leak; I hadn’t used the stove in a week.  Lucky that I hadn’t managed to get it fixed yet.  When I came back into the living room, Death was flipping through an old issue of Redbook, chuckling at the anti-aging tips.  
    “Thank you for your patience,” I said.  “Do you need any cream or sugar?”
    “No thank you, I prefer it black,” he said with a friendly wink.  “Just don’t be too long, alright?”
    “Of course.”  I handed Death his coffee, and he sipped it politely while I went around the house.  I brought my step stool over to the hall closet and got my wedding album down, along with the picture of my grandparents, faded to a dull red, the color of the dirt road outside.  Next to the bedroom, where I fished my will and Social Security card out of the back of my nightstand.  I had a roll of cash in my front left bedpost; I got that too.  I picked up the few pieces of good jewelry I had – the real stuff. Most importantly, I got my house insurance papers together.
    I went out to the storm cellar, where I had a fireproof box.  I put my treasures in the box.  I walked back to the house the long way, through the side garden, taking a last look around.  The moonvine was flowering, ghostly white in the glow from the back porch, mixed up with the morning glories and the four o’clocks, which were all tightly closed up.  It was good work, that garden.  I would miss it more than most other things.  
    I went in the side door to my bedroom, where I’d been sorting old sweaters to keep or to take to the Salvation Army earlier that evening.  My body lay sprawled across the clothes on the floor at a very uncomfortable angle.  I rubbed my chest; it still tingled.  Who knew the dead could feel pain?  Having your heart stop is far more painful than most people know.  I knelt by my body and pried the pack of Salem Lights out from under what was once my knee.  I lit one crooked cigarette and drew in a deep lungful of smoke.  I’d been trying to quit.  If I’d known I would die of a heart attack instead of lung cancer, I’d have smoked with more gusto.  I reluctantly put the cigarette down on a nearby ashtray, tilted a bit so it would smolder awhile.  I hesitated, then reached over and straightened the dress on my body.  It had gotten hiked up a little high.
    I walked back out into the living room and smiled at Death, who had just finished his coffee.  “Alright,” I said, “I’m ready.”
    He held out a hand and I took it.  His hand was warm and dry, and it was strangely nice to hold a man’s hand again after so many years.  On the way out I grabbed my granddaughter’s newest portrait off the table by the door.  I hadn’t even had a chance to get it framed.
    “You know you’re technically not supposed to take it with you,” he chided me with a gentle smile.
    “I know,” I said.  “I thought I’d push your indulgence a little further.  Thank you for your patience.  Frankly I was a little surprised.”
    He shrugged.  “I have time.”
    We walked out the front door, across the porch and down the steps to the red dirt road.  Instead of running out into the bois d’arcs and across the creek, however, the road now turned and went upwards, over the trees to the stars, silver in the moonlight.  I gazed up at it and smiled.
    “What’s it like up there?”
    “Different for everyone.  You’ll just have to see for yourself.”  
    I hesitated.  I looked down at the picture of my granddaughter. Death put an arm around me and looked over my shoulder at the picture.  “Don’t worry about her.  You’ll see her again, and hundreds like her, stretching on into eternity.  If you come with me, I’ll show you what I mean.”
    I went with him, holding his hand up the winding silver path.  Behind me, I felt the heat of the explosion, and the sky was illuminated with fire.  I paid it no mind.  I took my last walk, up and above to the beyond. 
AS YET UNTITLED
Geoffrey Spurgin
The desert horizon swallows the sun, darkening its stony, shattered teeth into a uniform black set against the blood red sky. It won’t be long before the upper pallet chomps down this dry earth, leaving us in the dark to fear mysteries. 
“I god damn that moon! Be not fer it, I’d imagine them stars not like its arid surface. Those stars sparkle like water. . . huh . . . bet they as dry as this here land. Bet I’d prayed on all those sons of bitches one time or another… they was just too far away to know better.”
“You ain’t god damned nothin but yer mother at birth. Now shut it!”
They wouldn’t sleep well, but they’d sleep enough. Enough to live but not live well. They may have been sworn enemies or soul mates; neither could quite tell. One may blame the other for their hurtin’ but it’s no fault of man. Would scare them to death to be apart. No, there was just never enough good to feed two. So both shared and had little and suffered, but they suffered together. If ignorance is bliss, then surely there is a heaven, but these two atheists would never be admitted. 
CREATIVE NONFICTION
RELIGIOUS DISAGREEMENT
Elena Harding
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

What’s this?

You are currently reading A Few Moments More – Julie Cox at Moulin Review.

meta

%d bloggers like this: