Tales of Men is a blog series showcasing short stories, prompts, and other writings.
A Passing Melody
Saul Kerwin poured a plentiful cup of warm black coffee knowing that it would be his last. He sat on his favorite chair contentedly. He spent more quality time with this chair than any one particular individual in his life. The chair knew him well; it knew his smell, the dying strength in his muscles, and the increasingly morose nature of his thoughts. A close companion that would not fail him, as time had. A bitter cold draft rolled into the room like a steam engine. One slow heartbeat after another, Mr. Kerwin sensed the cold in his bones and quivered. The kitchen window was open to clear the smoke from burning his last piece of bread in the broken toaster his deserted children left behind. In the living room, a faint sound of music could be heard but Mr. Kerwin could not hear. He could not hear a single sound. A part of him preferred it that way. He struggled to lift his heavy mug and take a sip of the now cold coffee. He drank it with eyes closed. Despite his deafness, he did not fail to play music every day and imagine he could remember the melody. He would only play one record and the same song again and again. The song was lovely. The song was treasured, even more than his chair. It was the single piece of music that his wife truly loved and he could not hear it. Since her passing, he ensured the melody glided throughout the house at all times. It didn’t matter if it bothered the neighbors or that everyone thought he was irrational and senile. He did not play it for himself, and no one needed to understand. The room grew icy, and his hands became numb. Mr. Kerwin had not moved in his chair for some time and wondered if the music was still playing. Determined, the 90-year-old man pulled himself up from his chair moving over to the aged record player. Traveling from one side of the room to the other seemed to be a strenuous journey. His ears listened for any sounds knowing it was a lost cause. In the middle of the room lay a pile of photographs he collected over time. With his eyes focused intently on the record player for signs of movement to ease his anxious mind, he forgot to watch the floor. The next step would be the last step he would ever take. His pulse began to slow in anticipation – unsure if the song was playing. He imagined the tune and used his final energy to croon the melody, pretending to hear it.
The record player continued to spin the timeworn vinyl.