A wish to be granted........

Short story..........

The old man sat in his rocker slowly swaying back and forth , the motion of the chair seemed to come from some other source than himself , as if perpetual motion somehow did all the work. I had stopped by to spend a moment talking with him after work. Mostly because I felt guilty of not stopping often enough. And , I felt as though I had to be fair about the favor he had asked of me . As I studied his face , I was reminded of the high desert sands after a heavy rain . The lines of an eternal desert existence where nothing ever changes. And that is the face I'm looking at now And yet , his mind was as sharp as a tack , and just then he looked me directly in the eye's as he stopped rocking and said .........
"Will you do what I have asked of you, you know I can't do it myself .........Listen , you and I have always understood each other , haven't we ?.....Moving on , is one thing that I just don't have the heart to do now" .
With that said , he reached over to the arm of my chair and put his old twisted hand on my forearm , patting my arm softly , he went on to recall how over the last few years his life had just gone down hill , his health had taken a slow and steady turn for the worse since he beloved wife of sixty one years had died abruptly from a massive heart failure. He lived alone here on the mountain farm that he was born on . Sometimes when I looked at the mans life I think of how small a mans world can be for some and thinking back , I don't believe the old man had ever left this valley , His simple and humble life had given him everything he needed right here , in one valley , on this one old place , with one woman. The children long grown and gone now , seldom ever returning . Each day now , it was the same thing , the hired nurse stopping in the morning to check on him , helping him to get ready for the perpetual day that faced him squarely in the eye's , in a total and complete realization that of all things left to a man that time , was by far the worse thing he had to deal with.

He had asked me , repeatedly, the same favor , for the last seven months now each time we sat here , he would look at me with the pale eye's of age , of wisdom and of compassion. He wanted to end it all . And , he wanted me to help him do it .........He had talked often about how , if I would just leave it here with him and walk away , he would take care of everything . He had told me repeatedly in a sobering , yet concience voice , that It was time , and in the last few weeks he had grown more and more insistent on the fact that I would be the only one that he could trust with it............

"Listen , I have something here for you , I would like you to take care of , it's all here in this envelope . I believe its all self explanatory , I trust that you will follow my wishes ".........and as he handed me a large closed and sealed envelope , he looked me directly in the eye's , for a second not releasing his grip , and then he said this,
" You have been like a son to me ........when most people would have just walked away , you stood by me , and you've never asked a thing of me like the others , when you open this later , I want you to remember this moment , these words and grant me my wishes ."
And as our eyes locked , he nodded at me with a steely eyed smile , and continued , I am not going to sit here for one more day like this " ,he tapped his cane against my chair and as I looked him in the eye's , I knew he meant it !

We sat in silence and watched the sun falling over the western ridge and disappear behind the pines together , and just as I was thinking of finding the words to say goodnight he reached over and put his hand on my forearm again , and as I glanced over at him I knew , I knew , he was sitting with a smile on his face ..............And looking closer , I realized that his chest wasn't rising and falling like it had been , ............We sat there a few more minuites like that , I could'nt even begin to move , I didn't want to leave and as the darkness began to envelope the night sky ,i reached over to his neck to feel for a pulse and I realized that he had finally got his wish ! ...........He was gone..........I pulled my hand away from his neck and looked at his other hand there on my forearm........ As I sat back in my chair I continued to sit there and as the hours passed by I began to get the feeling that he had gotten to where he was going , and before I carefully pulled my hand free of his , I looked at the peace and serene llook on his face one last time......
"Well my friend , you have gotten your wish ......"


Later , after the coroner , the sheriff and his deputy had driven away , the hearst backed slowly out of the old dirt drive and slowly pulled away ......and after locking the door of the house , propably the first time the front door was ever locked ! I reached for the door of my old truck and reaching into my jacket , I pulled the old colt revolver that his father had given him and he had given to me .........and removed the single bullet from the cylinder.......
"I guess that you won't be needing this my friend........." It was then that I remembered the envelope that he has asked me to "take care of " Later after I got back to my place and sat for a while drinking coffee and reflecting on our lifetimes , I absent mindedly pulled out the envelpoe that he had given me , On the old paper I caught the scent of the old mans life , pipe tobacco.....old spice .......and and a life time of friendship ........sliding it open I slid out the old handwritten paper that lay inside , and then read his words , ......and in one last messege I heard his voice as I read the note .........

" You have been like a son to me and all of your life too and I think its only fair that you take what you have helped me to build and keep for all of my life., This old farm aint ' worth much to me now , I want you to have it." ..........
and as I slid the deed back into the envelope I wondered one last time , Could I have granted him his last request ?, As I had brought the gun with me each time that I had visited , and I knew ..........No....I glad it went down this way !





Comments 16 comments

theseus profile image

theseus 5 years ago from philippines

OMG..this is so intriguing.

You have done it again, ahorseback. I was completely hooked to this hub, just like I always have whenever I read your hubs before.Thank you for sharing.God bless you.


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

Theseus, thank you my friend !...glad you shared:-}


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

This is awesome ahorseback. And you know I seldom use that word. My best friend and I have talked about this subject. It is an unimaginable choice but some make it. Your scenario works perfectly without compromising the story or characters. And the sentiment is poignant but not treacly. I really enjoyed this story. It is indeed destined to be a classic.


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 5 years ago from Hereford, AZ

This is so absolutely beautiful and awesome. I am sitting here crying. It is as if a dear friend of mine had gone on.


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

Hyphenbird , Now there you go humbling me again !The strange thing is , is that people do these things. I can't imagine being asked or asking , but who knows....Thank you very much......:-}


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

Becky Katz , You stop that right now , its only a story!.....lol.....Thank you :-]


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 5 years ago from North Carolina

You sure its only a story cause read like the real dealio. Glad it went down the way it did too. Very fine short story ahorseback.


daddysgirl 5 years ago

I can't tell you the times I have been in this exact position dad. I'm glad you were able to express the conflict in the decision...it is real and happens everyday. It is so important to make end of life decisions known to a trusted family memeber or friend. Just make sure it's one that is willing to follow through...


Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 5 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

Such a touching story. You have written this with such tender feeling.

I can understand someone wanting to be free of the pain or restricted life. I would hate to be asked, I could not help.


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

Alastar Packer , thank you sir , it's close to real !:-}


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

Daddysgirl, I here echoes of "daddy, can I .....Daddy can we , Daddy are we there yet "...!!!!!!Love you sweet lady, you are the best thing that ever happened to me !!!!oxoxoxoxxoxoxoxoxoxoo Dad.


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

RoseMay , Thank you that compliment!..I know , it would be very hard!.......:-}


tlpoague profile image

tlpoague 5 years ago from USA

What a touching story to start the day with. I know I could never do that if it had been asked of me. I could only sit there holding his hand like the character in your story. Great job! I am looking forward to reading more when I get back.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Quite a story. I'm glad that in the end, he just slipped away on his own. Much better that way.

Well written! Up and awesome.


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

Tpoague , Thank you for that , Its good to share with you!.........:-}


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

WillStarr , yes it is !Glad you enjoyed! thank you!....:-}

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