The old man, long after his days of hauling carts of fish, sits in a corner of the smokey diner that opened nearly 20 years ago in 1861. That was a good year, the old man looks back, clearing the dusty haze that reclines in the lockers of his mind. His lunch time pint froths beside him as he absently smokes his last cigarette. Reminded of his younger years of stealing one of his first cigarettes out of his mother’s purse, the purse that smelt like vanilla oil and Wild Cherry cough drops. The day he got caught was the day his father left, oh yes he remembers the front door about to close as his father took one last look at the family home he was leaving behind and saw his youngest son frozen with grim expectations and one hand groping in the claws of expenses. His father looked on without really seeing, closing the door behind him and forever dismissing the woman he once desperately loved and the children he gave life to.
So long ago that seems, the thought inspires succeeding tremors of worry, if he had had a wife and possibly children, would the old man have followed in his fathers quick deserting foot falls?
Of course not, he mutters to himself, as a young couple pass by to the booth in the back, sunk in the deep wells of love. Will this young man stick around when his young rose is full with bloom, or will he leave to seek other ventures?
Lunch is served, fish n’ chips with a perfect sliced lemon beached at the outer rim of the plate, Mom’s favorite, if only she was still there to taste the freshly caught and battered fish. The old man reminds himself to smile at the waitress as she busily wipes her oily hands on her blue and yellow plaid apron.
The stormy weather outside, framed by the cracked and peeling window sills, beckons the withered man to days of fishing and the feeling of salty rain and sea water dancing on his fresh face, remaining balanced despite the nauseating stagger of the well populated Schooner. The shouts and cat calls of the other men on board to the aggrieved fish cavorting bellow the waters surface, death swimming along beside them, soon to belong to the hungry bellies back home. Finally arriving on shore to the arms of no one, not even his mother, even then, while his fellow men returned to their beds kept warm by their awaiting wives.
At 3:00 the busy chatter of the diner brings the old man back, after all its time to return home. With the hood of his jacket swelled over his head to stem the pelting rain, the old man, with his aching back lopes to the door pertaining to the house that once belonged to his mother. His mother, the mother that once waited, reclining in the blue stuffed heavily cushioned chair, for her son to come home. Lighting the old oil lamp, the man peels of his drenched clothing leaving it in piles on the tired floor; a part of him knowing that he will not need them any-longer. He looks at his mothers cerulean chair, about to lay back, but reconsiders. The old man closes his eyes, seeing himself as a young boy, he rests his head on his mother’s well loved chair. He closes his eyes as he imagines her fingers stroking his tired head, as he closes his eyes his mother smiles at her son knowing that he has finally returned to her.