Friday, June 26, 2015

The Missing Leg [2010]

  He wiped his boots on the tattered remains of the welcome mat, and entered the dim, one room cabin that he had recently inherited from his deceased parents.  It was dank and cold, and it stank of mothballs, rodents and rotten potatoes.  He walked hesitantly across the warped, wooden plank floor, shuffling to a stop before the stove in the far right corner.  He looked up through the cobwebs to find dust dancing on a thin beam of light, and realized that there was a small hole in the ceiling.  The illumination allowed him to see that the stove's pipe was crooked, broken and covered in soot, and that a few ancient, charred logs still remained in the belly.  Also, as his eyes further adjusted to the low lighting, he noticed that the familiar round kitchen table beside him was missing a leg.  It seemed it might collapse at any minute, beneath the weight of the few mismatched plates and bowls that were strewn across its surface.  He pulled out the one remaining chair (in which, a month prior, his mother's decaying body had been found), and it creaked beneath him as he sat to contemplate the moment.  The frayed and faded curtains gently swayed in the window beside the door, blown by a mild wind coming through a crack in the pane.
Since he had last left this place, in the summer of 1988, he had come to feel that the old, broken down family cottage was of no worth.  However, after an enlightening conversation with his wife, and a swift, concurrent financial meltdown, he found himself surveying the place with new eyes.  In light (or, possibly spite) of everything, he began to sense a haunting awareness of himself, rising from the tortured, cracked floorboards.  And the four musty plaster walls, which had once witnessed the most heinous betrayals of his youth, now begged his forgiveness.  And, as he stood, with the sun shining in on him, and the plates and bowls spilling to the floor, he found it.  This shack might finally be something to him: it could be his home.

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