WITH A BANG NOT A WHIMPER. | By: Terry Collett | | Category: Short Story - Friendship Bookmark and Share


Of all the rooms in the house it was the library that you expected to find Lyndon most times there with his books and his writing desk facing the window so he could see the flower filled garden and the birds on the wooden bird table or on the lawn where they would come and pick up the bread that he had put out and as you stand in the library and look around the shelves where the books are arranged in subject matter and in alphabetical order as he liked it so that he could select the book he wanted easily and all dust cleared weekly by Milly as Lyndon watched her and gave his commands and his eyes peering at her through his glasses making sure each book went where it belonged and the fact that he will no longer be here anymore with his books or at his desk takes your breath away for the moment and the thought of the funeral the week before with all the well wishers and friends and relatives with the flowers and the service long and religious which he would not have liked not being a religious man thinking it all rather outmoded and outdated but you had no strength left to argue about what happened or how or who did what or said what just wanting it over so that you could get back to the house and let out all the pent-up tears and hurt and the feelings gnawing at your stomach and worming into your mind and the emptiness of the whole house where you wandered from room to room calling his name like a lost child and Milly sent away so you could be alone not wanting the maid there at such a time with her funny ways and her chit chatter and the rooms all empty of his presence even the bedroom where he had slept alone because of his endless coughing and insomnia where his things were all arranged as he left them all neat and tidy and in order with the book he was reading with its marker still there and the curtains still drawn as you requested so that the daylight would not disturb anything or let in a new dawn or change anything and you walk to the window and peer into the garden where his deckchair still sits awaiting him like some faithful hound and you watch as the birds peck around the lawn searching for the bread no longer put out and that brings tears to your eyes and all becomes blurred and watery and you turn away and walk around his desk and pick up his pen and peer through tear-filled eyes at the last writing on his desk on a piece of manuscript with his handwriting scrawled on the page which you know so well having read all that he had written and proofread for him and now it has all stopped and the silence of the room seems to make it like a sepulchre as if all that had been here was dead and no longer had any meaning not his books his work or your life now he had gone away and the fact that you will never see him again not hear his voice or feel his hand on your shoulder or his lips on your cheek suddenly hits home and you wander away slowly from the library and its books and the memories and go down the passage to the storeroom by the kitchen where Milly would normally be at the stove muttering away as she stirred or prepared vegetables and you pick up the shotgun a neighbour had lent you to shoot the rabbits that invaded the vegetable garden and you close the door to the other rooms and the garden and the memories and the absence of Lyndon and the barrenness crowding around you and nipping at your heels and you pull the trigger with the finger that once curled itself around Lyndonís curls and bring an end to all that pain and hurt and darkness with a bang not a whimper as Lyndon would have said quoting a poem he rather liked on his final day as the sunlight pierced dimly through slits in the curtains onto the bedcover of his death touched bed.

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