the year so far

by uzwi

The aunt aged early but after that never seemed to get any older. A certain fragility set in just behind her face, but her eyes remained clear if watery. She kept a sense of what was right, although she seemed constantly surprised that the world didn’t subscribe to it. After college he returned to the town. He couldn’t settle. He wasn’t sure about anything. He might have found work but he didn’t. Instead he visited the old woman. They did crossword puzzles. They filled in photograph albums–closing fast on the current year, in which her son and his family moved house, took a trip to Stockholm. One afternoon she saw a thrush outside her kitchen window. “Now, what kind of bird is that ?” she asked. He told her, but she didn’t seem to hear. “One thing I find myself thinking about,” she said, “is how wonderful it would be to fly.” He understood in that moment what the word “disarmed” means. It means you are vulnerable. If you aren’t careful you will be forced to recognise that. The last thing she told him was the strangest thing he ever heard. She took his hand and said, “For you all of this started with the death of your father, which rubbed off on you and appeared to become your own.“ After the funeral he found the parts of a human body–as far as he could tell, it was male–in another room, distributed between two or three freezers. Unable to think what else to do, he used a Morrison’s trolley to wheel them in boxes through the town, late at night, down to the sea.

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