The Old Man awoke earlier than normal. He had to go into the living room to look at the only clock in his house. The clock was an inexpensive plastic clock that ran on two double A batteries and it hung on a wall next to a calendar. He saw that it was nearly nine a.m., which was about two hours earlier than he normally would have been out of bed. Usually it didn't matter what time the Old Man woke up. Time didn't really matter anymore.
Today, however, he needed to be ready. It was his 80th birthday. Family members were going to be coming over at noon to celebrate the Old Man's 80th birthday. He was happy. He was excited. There was going to be a party for him. He ate a simple breakfast of toast with butter, a cup of black instant coffee, and a banana. He then went to take a shower and get dressed.
His oldest daughter arrived before the others so she could get things ready for the party. She usually came at least once or twice a week to help clean the house, take her father to shop or run errands, and spend time with him talking. He would see his other children, grandchildren, and great-children at other times throughout the year, but not too often. Each visit was a happy occasion that came and went.
As noon approached, family members began to arrive. Hugs and warm greetings were passed among them. They brought folding chairs and tables, balloons and decorations, and an array of foods and drinks. Soon the living room was filled with tables and chairs and with people carrying plates piled high with food. The room was awash in busy chatter and happy laughter, people eating and children engaged in play. A whirl of sound and activity swirled about the delighted Old Man.
After everyone had finished eating, the assemblage broke into cells of conversation with individuals drifting from one group to another catching up on news. Some clustered attentively around the Old Man as he talked about days gone by and other memories. Much of his past life now seemed to him like stories he had read in a book long ago. Children scrambled about the room and into other rooms while a few adolescents sat by bored on the couch as though waiting to make an escape. Talk, serious and silly, was swapped as the passel shoshed about the room like a bowl of people soup carried on a tray.
Then after a rousing version of "Happy Birthday" and the eating of cake and ice cream, family members scurried about cleaning the kitchen and straightening the house. Men left with tables and chairs and empty casserole dishes. Gradually the attendees began leaving with sad good-byes, hugs, kisses, and handshakes. The oldest daughter kissed her father good-bye and told him that she would stop by the following day. The Old Man watched through the window as the last family members climbed into their cars and left. And then they were all gone and the Old Man was alone.
It was not yet 7 PM, but the Old Man felt tired, yet not sleepy. He would probably not go to bed for several hours. It didn't really matter what time he went to bed. He didn't have to wake up at any particular time. He didn't have to go to work or be anywhere special. Time didn't mean anything to him now. Time wasn't that important.
The sun sat sullenly on the horizon as it waited to make its departure. As the stark shadows enveloped the room, the Old Man turned on a lamp. He walked over to the calendar on the wall and carefully marked an X on this day that was about to end-- his birthday. There were 365 days until his 81st birthday.
This is a short story I wrote for the letter T. Perhaps I'll go back eventually and polish it up since I wrote it pretty quickly. Any thoughts about this story?
Time for the A to Z Challenge is winding down--only one more week to go. And most of you have hung in there. There are a few more difficult letters coming up but I have no doubt that you can finish with a flourish. Savor and enjoy these last few days as you make them your very best. Be thinking about what you want to say in your May 3rd post. Perhaps there was a certain special post that another blogger did that you want to recognize. Or maybe you want to feature some of your own work that you were proud of. You might even have quotes of comments you received from other bloggers.
The May 3rd Mega Post is your time to tell about your experience with the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge on your own blog site. I know that this student of blog science, as well as many other bloggers, want to know what you learned from this experience. Try to be creative and as informative as you can. What you do is up to you and I for one am anxious to see it.