- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Six days, fourteen hours and seven minutes before his birthday, it arrived. He opened the door of his apartment-eleven stories up from a slab of concrete with no view to speak of-to snag his neighbor's paper. Instead, his eyes fell on a heavily wrapped box in front of him. He glanced at his neighbor's walkway and changed his mind about the paper; it was Wednesday, and Wednesday's weren't newsworthy in his opinion. He set the box on the counter and scrounged around for the scissors with blue tips, they were the sharpest. He'd often imagined himself poking his eye out with it, an idea further induced by the movie "May". A shudder erupted through his body as he relived that scene. The shrill ring of his phone nearly made him drop the now-found scissors on his big toe.
"Yes?" he asked, his heart pounding.
"Ah baby, you're home!"
"Yes mother, I was just about to leave when, hey--" he looked the box over, trying to remember how his mother used to wrap, "did you by chance send me a birthday present early?"
"Of course not darling; you know I plan to deliver it in person," she said.
"There's no need, you can't handle the heights, remember?"
"For my son's birthday, I can do anything," she insisted.
"Okay ma. Look, I'm going to have to get to work soon, did you need something or is this an emergency?"
"What? Oh no, not at all. You know me dear-just thinking about your father-rest his soul and I wanted to talk to the next best thing. Never you mind your old lonely mother, you go off to worklike a good boy," she said and left him with a dial tone before he could say more.
He hadn't been by to see her in over two months and this was her way of reminding him that she still existed. He hated it over there; it smelled like his old man. The hole in the wall remained from an earlier dispute he'd never forgotten, much less forgiven. His mother couldn't handle the stress of taking sides and for that her health began to fail. Before he could figure out a way to make amends with the jerk, he'd up and died of a heart attack. Yes, the bastard was getting on in age-no doubt from years of stress working as a cabbie along the streets of Portland-but this was the first anyone had heard of heart problems.
Tomorrow. I will visit her tomorrow.
He glanced at the wall clock, a Budweiser insignia that lit up and worked only when it wanted to. Already it was half-past eight and he really needed to get to work. He was three days shy of receiving a pink slip for time missed at work. It wasn't his fault entirely; the company didn't accept hangovers as a reason for absence. In his line of work, he figured it considerate to not be on the road delivering packages for the post office if he wasn't capable of staying focused and alert. But no, they lectured him, took away vacation pay and threatened him with only three more tries or he was out. He wanted to get to work on time today, but there was still the matter of the box.
Take a quick look and then go.