One from the Memory


by Michael Tuberdyke


The humidty maintained a heaviness that felt like barbed-wire around my lungs. I was tired having been up all throughout the night before with her next to me like how we were now only difference being today we were driving away from the cemetery.

I felt responsible although I could not stop what was to happen to her son, but thinking of how quick the days have gone since the very first word that led to the last being good-bye shocked me. Time moves so fast and slow. I only wish that I could have the chance to say good-bye again and mean it.

Last night I stayed up with his mother and we shared stories about her son. For those moments he was very much alive and I think we kept talking because if we stopped we were afraid that he would die again. There was no talk of the morning and his burial. Just stories of him and us or him and her together while the percolater was filled over and over until the dawn crept in and she fell asleep upright in her chair as the sun came in.

Watching her lie there I felt a lot of things that I could not put into words. I stood up then and walked over the creaking wood of the floor of the dark house to the kitchen. I made some more coffee and while it was brewing I swear to God and everything on Earth that I felt him there among the shadows.

We spent a lot of time in that kitchen as kids around the table talking about life and what we would be like when we grew older before forgetting it all when we went outside through the backdoor pass his mother’s garden to play.

That was his only chore–the garden–and I used to help him. It was one of those things I always said yes too because I couldn’t say no. I didn’t want him to have to be stuck with his mom on all those nice days while all our friends were having fun.

I looked back out of the window of the car to see the black vehicles all in line like a parade. I’d never think then when we were kids in the dirt digging with him being so full of life that what happened was going to happen. He just let himself go. Fell into one thing until that thing led to another and then finally the needle.

His mother’s hand was on mine when I began to think further. I told her last night that today after everything I’d help in the garden. I couldn’t see her out there on the dirt alone and when I looked at her she looked at me and we said nothing as the wheels below us turned without our doing as we rode between two lines on the straight lane home.



Michael Tuberdyke is the author of The Pharaohs and The River May Run. He lives in the Finger Lakes Region of New York and is working on his third novel.