The Old Man

Fiction By Erin // 10/10/2012

*A/N* Just realized that I hadn't posted since July!!! So, I wrote this as a spur-of-the moment thing. I hope it's good!!!
P.S. I loooovvvveee critiques <3

The old man held his wife’s wrinkled hand tenderly in his rough one, callused from years of fishing and nets. Her veins were blue, running like a tiny channel of rivers. Her eyes were closed, and the old man longed for them to open. He wanted to see that spirited light that had shone so strongly until last week- a Tuesday, he remembered, just before she drifted off into this sleep. His sleeping beauty, he had started calling her. His wife’s chest still rose and fell slowly, though her breath was shallow.
Her hair had turned white, as white as the hospital pillow. It had still had bright red streaks just last month. He gently stroked her hair back from her face and tried to detangle it with his fingers. She had always been so meticulous about her hair.
“Do you want to hear a story, Vivian?” he asked in a rough voice. She made no movement, as he knew she wouldn’t. He went on anyway.
“Do you remember when we met, honey? Do you remember how the leaves were falling off the trees? How cold it was when you came running by me, dropping your books everywhere?” A smile crossed his somber face. “Remember how you started cursing like a sailor when I accidentally kicked one into a puddle? You told me I was a pig, and that I owed you a twelve dollar book. Remember how I told you that I owed you a twelve dollar book and a cup of hot cocoa?” The old man traced his fingers alongside her mouth, where there was a map of all of the smiles and frowns they had shared. “Man, Viv, I still can’t believe that line worked,” he said. His grip on her hand tightened.
“Do you remember Johnny, sweetheart? Well, of course you remember Johnny. But do you remember him when he was a little kid, Viv? Shoot, darlin’, he got all that fire from you.
Remember when he got hold of my gun, when he was six or seven? Lord, you were mad at me. Banned guns forever, you did. Made me dismantle it and beat it with a hammer.”
“Hey, Viv, did you hear that you’re a grandmother now? Johnny told you that, I think. She was just born yesterday. They named her Rose……..Rose, like your favorite flower.” The old man felt tears stinging his eyes. He cleared his throat and continued.
“Remember August, Viv? You painted the biggest painting. It was nearly seven feet high. We hung it up inside. It takes up the entire wall. A better painting I’ve never seen. It’s of the garden, you know. So many flowers. You love that garden, don’t you? Lots of green. Just like your eyes, I like to say…” forbidden tears started to tickle his cheeks. “Jesus, Vivian, please open your eyes. Just for me. Talk to me, please!”
There was no response. He let out a sob that rocked his whole body and pressed a hand to his face, but he never let go of her. He would never let go.
“Rob?” her voice was so faint that it felt like a dream, a dream that he was trying so hard to remember.
“I’m here, Vivian, I’m here,” he said. Her eyes were open, though their light had dimmed.
“I’m dying, Rob,” she whispered.
“No, you’re not. You’re fine, you’ll be fine,” he stuttered in reply.
“Don’t even try to fool me, dear,” she croaked, a weak smile stretching out those beautiful crow’s feet along her eyes.
“God, Vivian, you can’t do this to me,” he said. “It’s not your time yet. It’s not our time yet.”
“Yes, it is,” she told him firmly. Her hand was trembling as she placed it over his. “It’s time for me to tell you something; you are going to let me go.”
“Never,” he replied.
“Scatter my ashes on the road where we met.”
“I’m not going to scatter your ashes,” he snapped.
“Listen to me!” she cried, her voice straining. “I don’t want my final memories of us together to be of you telling me about how I’m not going to die, because I am!”
He was frozen. Her eyes were piercing into him, just as they did that time when he kicked her book in the puddle.
“Did I ever tell you that I kicked that book in the puddle on purpose?” he asked her, leaning in close.
“What?” she asked.
“I wanted you to talk to me,” he said, laughing. “When you started cussing at me like that…..whoo. I was hooked, baby. I was hooked.”
She smiled, just as she had when he told her he owed her hot cocoa. “Bet you got more than you bargained for, hm?” she said, chuckling.
He shook his head. “Naw!” he paused, then felt a smile itching at the corners of his mouth. “Well, maybe a little bit.”
Vivian laughed. Her full, beautiful laugh that filled up the whole entire room.
“But I’ll tell you what, Viv,” he continued. “I wouldn’t trade my time with you for anything in this whole world.” He stroked the side of her face, felt the curve of her cheek bone and the soft edge of her jaw.
He could see that she was getting tired. A tear slipped from her startlingly green eyes. “I love you, Rob. All right?”
A tear slipped out from his own eyes and fell on the thin fabric of her hospital gown. “I love you too, Viv. I love you more than the sun loves the moon.”
“I love you more than your boot loved my book,” she whispered, her eyes half closed.
“I love you more than you loved my hot cocoa. That’s saying a lot.”
“Not really,” she muttered, eyes all the way closed now. He laughed and kissed her gently on the cheek, and she smiled. As she drifted off into a sleep that she would never wake up from, he whispered in her ear.
“I love you more than grass loves rain. I love you more than the stars love the sky. I love you more than you love Patsy Cline. I love you more than your paintbrush loves the canvas,” her breaths were getting shuddery, and he was crying. His voice sounded like a broken little boy’s. “I love you more than anything.”


Erin--this is simply

Erin--this is simply beautiful! It wasn't perfect, which was fine. It's best that it wasn't. I loved this line: “I love you more than your boot loved my book."

So sweet and sad. Please post more soon!

Madeline | Wed, 10/10/2012

everything was better when/you would call and I'd be like/yeah babe, no way

Thank you :) that was my

Thank you :) that was my favorite line, too.

Erin | Wed, 10/10/2012

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond


Wow--again I am awed by your writing. This is just as good as "Planes". You have a talent for stories like these where their loved one dies. AWE-some job!!

Lucy Anne | Wed, 10/10/2012

"It is not the length of life, but the depth of life." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thank you!

Thank you!

Erin | Wed, 10/10/2012

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond

Ohhh. It was sad, but so

Ohhh. It was sad, but so happy as well. I agree with Homey: It wasn't perfect, but I liked it. :D

One thing: I though that, for an old man, he spoke too modern. Like, man, baby, hooked. It just didn't exactly suit the picture of an old man. But maybe you put that in intentionally, I don't know.

Over all, great job! I'm looking forward to when you next post. :)

Maddi | Wed, 10/10/2012

Goodbye? Oh no, please. Can’t we just go back to page one and start all over again?” – Winnie The Pooh


This is really sweet. It reminds me some of Up.

Kyleigh | Thu, 10/11/2012

Maddi: Thanks! For me, that

Maddi: Thanks! For me, that seemed like something that might have been said in the 60s-era. But I don't know for sure :)
Kyleigh: Thank you! I love Up. :D

Erin | Thu, 10/11/2012

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond


*wipes away tears* Okay, so you know when your stories good when the reader cries during the emotional parts, which means that I was practically weeping the entire end and especially the" love you more" parts! *SOBS LIKE A BABY!*

Kassady | Thu, 10/11/2012

"Here's looking at you, Kid"
Write On!

Yay! You cried! Lol, it's my

Yay! You cried! Lol, it's my constant goal in writing to make people cry. Thank you so much :)

Erin | Thu, 10/11/2012

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond


I read your comment as saying "my constant goal in life is to make people cry." Which I hope it isn't.
Beautiful story. I can't think of much to say because the only thing I can think of to say is that it was very good.
That and you clearly are made of awesome.

Aalen Fideli | Sun, 10/14/2012

Music I created



Sarah Bethany | Sun, 10/14/2012

Aalen: No, not in life! If

Aalen: No, not in life! If you re-read it, I said "in my writing." It makes me feel like I impacted someone. But thank you so, so much! I'm glad that you enjoyed it.

Sarah Bethany: I know :( it made me sad too.

Erin | Sun, 10/14/2012

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond

It's a short piece, but the

It's a short piece, but the characters are so vivid. That's great.

Anna | Thu, 10/25/2012

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief


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