Zest Lit Issue 2, October 2013 - Page 188

Soon after the funeral, it began.

He was afraid, but not panicked. He assumed, or maybe hoped, that things would get better. All things passed, he assured himself.

On the day of the funeral, he had been ill. The previous day he came down with a cold and was oblivious to the fact that the two were connected. Only later was it pointed out to him how natural it was to become sick after weeks of caring for his father while he was dying – the stress of it all. He now accepted that explanation as totally reasonable.

Jane had been with him throughout the ordeal, including at the funeral, and stayed with him as he tried to adjust.

I’m going to the store, she said, do you want anything?

Do I want anything? He thought. He shook his head. What could I possibly want?

No, thank you, he said.

Although Jane had been with him physically she had offered no emotional support. Instead she proved to be wrenchingly stoic to the point of being indifferent – or worse, icy. He hadn’t thought about that until lately, but now it was constantly on his mind, and it perplexed him. He had considered all of the obvious explanations, but nothing stuck. He was tired.

By the time she returned from the store, he had fallen asleep in his chair. He could hear her in the kitchen as he started to emerge from a deep sleep into a hypnagogic state. His eyes were open only a slit and his vision was clouded, fuzzy, as if his corneas were coated with Vaseline.

His mind was full of dreams – absurd, unforgettable dreams.