He was expecting more traffic for this time of the day but it was relatively quiet, if he was to tell anybody about it they would find it hard to believe him, it was always traffic jam at this time of the day in this part of the city, and so he thought luck was with him. They drove in silence, his mother, a hard woman at the best of times, not even made any comment on how free-flow the traffic was and so it was that they drove in silence for the best part of the hour and a half journey. It wasn't exactly a cold day, the winter had been mild for this time of the year and Christmas was not that far off, but his mother was dressed expecting the worst and in spite of the heater on in the car kept her leather gloves on, one hand on top of the other in a tight grip as if she was trying to stop her hand from running away from her body. Her woolen coat, creamy colour with black and dark blue specks buttoned to the neck and brown sensible leather shoes gave the women the appearance of somebody who had not the time of day to stand and gossip with friend or stranger. The expression on her face had that determined look about it, it was already giving out the definitive message that it did not want to talk nor did she look left or right but straight ahead. She had a mission, or was it that she was arranging her thoughts in her head, no matter, he thought at least she would be happy or say some words for this was the day her husband, and his father was been let home from the hospital in nice time to be with his family for Christmas.
Eric parked his old but still good car at the side of the road opposite to the place where he was buying a second hand compressor to help him in his work. He already put a cash deposit down as a down payment for the compressor which was been serviced before he handed over the final amount. What luck he thought to himself, to find a parking space right opposite the tool shop as he was parking the car. The last time he was here he had to park some distance away and on top of that he got a parking ticket for five minutes over the time, he was remembering as he turned off the engine. Turning to his mother with the stone face look, he told her he will be a couple of minutes that he wanted to check on a compressor he was buying. She did not answer him, just sat there looking ahead. This kind of 'game' she played was not new to him and he called it the 'poor me game'. Eric got out of the car, no point in wasting time for some response he thought as he was entering the tool shop. He was pleased with the way the compressor was been serviced, this is money well spent even though cash was tight for him now he was thinking to himself as he was getting back into the car. ' You were fifteen minutes', she was not asking, but in that tone of voice she was telling. ' Sorry.... we will still be on time, don't worry'. No she was not worried, she knew they would be on time, but still it was her way of reminding Eric that she still had some authority over him, she never had anything good to say to him at anytime in his life. There never was a mother son relationship between them and Eric tried not to let it bother him even though it did. It always did.
'Look ... there's the hospital now and we are still on time', Eric said as he was pulling into a parking space not too far from the main door. 'You were fifteen minutes', she said as she got out of the car and not bothering to close the door after her, now it started to rain, 'She will have something to say about that too', he thought as he was locking up the car, and sure enough as he was thinking about it out it came like spitting venom from a cobra, 'If you were not fifteen minutes we would not be caught in this rain now'..... Eric gave up, better not to answer, instinct was telling him as they walked up the granite steps to the main door. She in front with a stride that showed military like determination, and that was the body language she was sending out for all to see. It was one of those doors that opened on the pressure of your foot but for some reason it did not respond to her presence, like it was blocking her way, and it was only when Eric got to the door did the sensors do their job as if they recognized Eric, just like the doorman on posh hotels. If looks could kill Eric was a dead man, ten times over.
Hospital smells took over their senses as they entered, a blind man could tell were he was if he found himself there for no reason. Eric was sharp on body language, honed at an early age from watching his mother for signs that would have some effect on him. He would joke to friends later on in life that it was body language he learned first before he could speak. He was doing it now, as it was his habit always to survey the surroundings and people in any situation, but it came automatically to him, and right now it was in top form for he noticed a small group of doctors huddled together to one side of the reception desk that when they entered they look directly at them as if they were standing naked in a church. His mother had not noticed them even though the doctors were now walking towards them as if trying to stop them from entering the hospital. It wasn't until they were marching in formation, as was the way to show unity as the group and blocking their way did Eric's mother notice them ....... 'We are sorry to inform you that your husband died fifteen minutes ago ..... we did all we could for him, but' .....
Eric turned to his left and walked towards the lifts, his mind going into a muddle of thoughts, he wanted to be with his father, while his mother collapsed onto the floor like a rag doll losing all control of herself and her emotions. 'Fifteen minutes' he kept saying to himself over and over as the lift climbed it's way up, 'Fifteen minutes' he said out loud as he held his father's cold hand as death was now claiming the body, pulling him further and further away from Eric. Eric stood there riveted to the floor feeling the life drain from his own body and waiting for some response that will never, ever come ........ 'Fifteen minutes' .........
The caterpillar's end is the butterfly's beginning.
For better or for worse i see it this way. i would have gladly spent 5 more minutes buying some industrial lubricant to ease the passage of the compressor up her ass. I would have taken another 4 minutes looking for a plug to connect the compressor to some electricity.I would have spent a further 3 minutes buying a lump hammer in case the compressor was faulty. I definately would have spent a further 2 minutes buying masking tape in case the compressor blew out of her ass. And finally i would have spent at least 1 minute laughing my ass off.The man had every right to die in peace;what the hell is that smell?
The bottom line is...the woman wasn't very nice, and it wasn't the man's fault his father died when he did. David said it much more humorously than I did. You are an interesting writer though daf.
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