Monday, February 11, 2008

And Then There Were None

She looked around the table, recognizing that though there were only three people gathered --including herself -- to celebrate her father's birthday, as recent as four months ago that count would've been in excess of ten.

Three home sick. One in war. Another three lost to bad weather. And another, well... another one, simply... lost.

But she tried not to think about that, picking up one of her nephew's toy pirates and engaging him in battle, dueling over broken nachos and spilled salsa.

"You'll be six soon, won't you?" she said, lightly jabbing him on the shoulder with a short, flexible spear.

"Yes," he said, laughing. "I'll be six. And then I'll be seven. And then I'll be eight. And then I'll be nine..."

He continued to count, pausing again at "18" to remind his aunt that when he turned 18 he'd be "able to drive" (he then went on a brief tangent to reveal that he'd even be so kind as to let his girlfriend ride in his car so he could take her out on dates, perhaps even driving so far as to visit his aunt in the big city).

He then resumed counting, picking up his pace the further along he went, half-bored with a process he'd mastered ages ago.

He stopped at 101.

"And then I'll be dead!" he said cheerily before turning somber.

"I won't be able to see you any more," he added.

She looked at him, pausing for a moment, sorting through a million thoughts in an instant. She wondered, half-sick, if she should tell him that she'd be gone long before his 101st birthday.

But she didn't say a word, opting instead to commend him for his long life.

3 comments:

=) said...

If he loves you enough he will have your cryogenically frozen like Ted Williams. Then he can see you whenever he wants!

Stacy said...

Awesome storytelling. Lots of kids out of school here due to flu like symptoms. Happy birthday to Dad!

XOXO said...

Did that count including the blind dog? wanhwanh