Important Date. Short Story.

Hope everyone had a good weekend.

I went to a friends art exhibition on Friday, which was really cool, first time I’ve been in N.C.A.D. which is kinda surprising. I really enjoyed her work, the exhibition is open for another week or two, definitely pop in to have a look if you’re in the area or you get a chance.

I also ran into some old classmates from secondary school, which was really strange, but nice to catch up.

I’m quite looking forward to the Game of Thrones episode today, should be awesome! Besides, I need something to lighten the mood after the doctors, which, as always, will be super fun times, sitting around for hours. Has to be done, but it gets old, fast. Went for my blood tests last week, which were fine, in and out and usual. I assume I’m doing well as no one has rang me to tell me to “run, don’t walk, to the nearest hospital.”

Joke would be on them, I don’t run.

On with the show!

________________________________________________________

 

Dan stood at the door, checking that he had everything. He always checked twice these days, it was easy to forget things when you’re getting on in years. He picked up the bouquet of flowers, bought yesterday but still fresh and happy looking, and opened the door. He stepped into his driveway and stood, feeling the air. It was sunny out, but there was a faint nip in the air, perfect walking weather. He passed the car and stepped out onto the path. He liked the car and he liked driving, but he was deathly afraid of losing the ability to do so. He knew that older drivers caused problems, he didn’t want to be like that man on the news, the one that accidentally crashed and killed all those poor people. So Dan got himself tested regularly, once every six months he booked an instructor and had them grade his performance like they did for the kids learning to drive. He had passed every one with flying colours so far. Occasionally he drove a little slowly, but that was his worst crime. Dan started to walk, he wasn’t in any particular rush, he had plenty of time, which was always good, but he did walk slowly. He had a date today and he was looking forward to seeing her, it had been weeks since the last visit. As he walked, he looked around himself, he didn’t want to spend too much time looking at the ground, worrying where he feet were going. He didn’t have a cane, didn’t need one yet thank god, but that would happen soon, then he’d have to be much more careful, now he wanted to look at everything that was going on around him. He didn’t want to miss anything.

 

He passed Sheila’s house, who was out in her garden, working as usual, he waved and she waved back, then called out to him, he couldn’t quite hear her, but he had always been to embarrassed to say, so he gave her a thumbs up and a big grin, which seemed to always be the correct response, on the way home he’d stop and have a chat, be all neighbourly. He did enjoy his chats with Sheila, though he was always worried she was just doing it to be polite that she wanted to get inside, away from him to start doing things, but she was always pleasant. Sometimes he went in for a cup of tea, other times he passed. Today he’d probably accept a glass of water if she offered. He was coming up to Cathy’s house, and boy, did she live up to her name. If he got stuck chatting to her he could be there for an hour and he’d definitely be late. But he had a date today, he would be on time, he was always punctual, even now. He walked by her gate, but there was no sign of her, the dog, Benji was sitting in the grass, splayed out and enjoying the sun. He smiled at the dog and kept going. A jogger ran by, Dan knew that soon Marty, the Jogger, would circle around the other way and they’d share a smile and a brief wave. A faint breeze picked up, cooling but not cold. He paused for a moment and fished out his handkerchief, using it to wipe his nose, then he tidily put it back.

He’d have to ring Mark later, he and Tom had been talking about coming up for a visit with the kids, which would be nice, though he might be too tired today for it. The kids were lovely and very well behaved, but sometimes it was just tiring being around people. He’d see how he went. And he’d have to have a chat with Martha, see how she was getting on, living on the other side of the world now, make sure she’d ok, and that she’s still talking to Mark. They would have arguments and fallings out over the most stupid things. Though he was proud that they were always there for each other when it was important. Dan was sure that Martha said she was going to visit sometime in the next few months, but for the life of him he just couldn’t remember. Either way, they were good kids. He always felt so bad for Janice down the road, her most of her kids had turned out well, but Terry was just a force to be reckoned with. He was in prison now, for armed robbery or arson, something horrible like that. Poor dear.
Dan stopped walking for a moment, letting himself catch his breath. He had plenty of time still, and the flowers still looked happy. He checked his watch, he’d been walking for twenty minutes now, a younger man would have done it in ten. When he was younger he would have jogged it in five. Oh well, the penalties of age he guessed.

He was happy to be seeing Angela, it had been a while, and he knew she appreciated his visits, she never said so, but he knew she was lonely sometimes. He didn’t blame her though, it was understandable, he would be the same in her position. He had so many people to talk to, not just the ones he had passed by, but there were others, they’d pop in, make sure he was doing all right. They were good people. Still, sometimes he just needed someone to talk to, someone who wouldn’t judge him, who would listen. He had gone to Angela for so many things. She was always a kind soul. She’d listen, allow him to sort through his feelings. He clutched the flowers tighter as he neared, feeling his heart thudding, he wasn’t sure if it was nerves, excitement or exertion. He always got a little jittery here. He stopped at the gate, it was already open, but he had a key even if it had been locked. He stepped inside, it was always well maintained, deep green grass, beds of flowers. It was almost magical. He moved along the path, past the graves, which were all still lovingly maintained. A group came in a once a week to do some work, make sure nothing was damaged or decaying too much. He walked by people he had once known and complete strangers before he finally arrived. He placed the bouquet of flowers gently down, between the two which were already growing. He smiled at the grave,

“Hello love, good to see you again.”

She had gone fifteen years back, Mark and Martha had suggested that he move on, find someone else, but he couldn’t do that to Angela, she had been the love of his life, he still loved her. He knew that one day they’d be together again. He wouldn’t do that to someone else, couldn’t make them live in her shadow. It wouldn’t be fair to either of them. He was too old for companionship now, he had friends, he had family, he was content. He sat on the little bench the community group had installed for him and smiling, he began to talk.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 24 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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