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January 25, 2018

20 Days of Chill: Pounder

20 Days of Chill
Today's prompt is 'Pounder.'  Another piece of fiction.

Keith does not hurries his steps as the rain pounds the pavement. He have no umbrella and no cover but he makes no attempt to speed up. He walks on listening to the echoes of the rain but then the sound is gone. All is silent. He looks up at the rain hanging in the air. He looks around him. The people, the cars, everything is frozen in place. Two blackbirds are captured still in flight. He feels a strange need to hurry but to where, he haven't a clue.

Moments ago, Keith was just taking a stroll walking off his anger at his father, at his mother, at the world. It was the same old story – husband decided to leave his wife after years of marriage due to lack of love or was it due to the fact that the husband loved another woman? Keith hadn't decided if he should forgive his father this time but he must have. He didn't feel the anger like the first time his father left or even the second time he left. But now this third time, Keith felt nothing toward his father. It was as if all the anger and resentment were pushed toward his mother instead. She was a bad wife who only knows how to cook and keep the house tidy. She was bad at being romantic. Bad at prettying up herself. Bad at keeping her husband interested. Keith didn't want to blame her. He tried to soothe his thoughts by the fact that his father was at least paying for his mother's living. Without his father, Keith knew his mother would fail miserably at keeping herself together. But Keith didn't want to hear how his father was going to help his mother move on. He stood up and ran out of the restaurant.

He looks around again and the scene is the same. Everyone and everything is frozen. Then the rain starts its slow descend. He turns to face the sky. The raindrops hit his face like soft rocks. It soaks him. It cools his head. He is calm again.

He misses so many things and yet what is there to really miss anyway? The years his mother grieved over his father like he was dead? The days Keith tried to stay cheerful around his mother and failed miserably? The times Keith had to visit various hospitals because his mother no longer wanted to live without her husband by her side? No, he does not miss any of those things.

Everything starts to move in reverse including Keith. He walks backward involuntarily, back down the sidewalk, back up the steps of the restaurant, back toward the table where his mother and father sat and back in his seat like it have been just an half an hour ago before his father announced he was leaving.

Keith's father is saying how much he enjoys being a husband and a father. Keith studies his father. He is old and yet, his skin is smoothed with a light tan. His eyes are as vibrant as ever. His mother, however, appears older and yet she is a few years younger than her husband. The lines under her eyes are dark and deep. Her thin lips keeps on smiling while her dull eyes stay at her husband's face. His mother grows older while his father just stays young as if time only moves forward for his mother.

Keith's father laughs and remembers how much Keith used to be so heavy. Look how skinny he is now, his father says, almost proud to have such a skinny son. He pats Keith's shoulder. Keith nods and wonders why his father would bring that up all of a sudden. Then his father reminisces about the time Keith got stuck in the kitchen cabinet. They had to call the fire department and a man in a black uniform came with an ax. His father laughs and his mother joins in. Then his father holds out a hand toward his mother. I miss those days, he says. Keith wonders what it means as they hold hands. There is a tired grin on his father's face. His mother is smiling too, not the wooden smile she uses often but a real one. Keith watches his parents with a slow-burning hope. Maybe this time it will be different.

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