Author: The Bard of Ysgrim PM
a short story about a man named Jack. very short.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Words: 715 - Published: 12-07-10 - Status: Complete - id: 2871319
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Jack comes by the river at five o'clock every day. He has seen his reflection change from a youthful young man, to a rapidly aging man in his late forties. Jack has seen everything, from the assassination of John F Kennedy , to the crumbling of the Berlin Wall. He has documented all of it, on six individual VHS cassette tapes, and has watched them each about five times.
Jack has been documenting important events since he was twelve years old. The first thing he made sure he recorded was the date of his best friend's birthday. He was very glad he did, because eight years later, Jack and his friend were drafted to go to Vietnam, and Jack's friend Joe was killed in the North Vietnamese Tet Offensive.
Even though he lost his best friend in Vietnam, he's never really seemed too upset about it. He never even speaks about it, and that's really the only thing people know about Jack, that and he's at the river everyday at five o'clock. No one has ever asked Jack why he goes to the river every day at that specific time. Jack has often wondered why no one has asked him why he's at the river all the time, people even walk by him and don't even seem to notice him at all. Maybe Jack preferred it that way. He had always said that he preferred his solitude. By himself, he has lived more than most people have, and done more things than he ever could have done if he had had a large family to support. Jack has been all over the world, and has recorded on video everything he thought was worth recording, but he has never had anyone to share his experiences with. Jack has never really complained though, even when he finally did have a wife and a son, they hardly spoke at all.
Jack had a wife and a son about ten years ago. His son's name was Charlie, and his wife's name was Margaret. Jack and Margaret split up some eight years ago, and Margaret took Charlie with her, and Jack hasn't seen either of them since. Charlie was only two. Jack does however get a letter from Charlie every six months, but the address is never the same. He got a letter from Las Vegas, Manhattan, Miami, and even one from Anchorage. This seems to be the only time Jack has ever been seen with a smile on his face, and the only days out of the year that he's not seen staring into the river.
Jack hadn't started looking into the river daily until Margaret left with Charlie. Margaret never even gave him a satisfactory reason that could even explain why she was leaving in the first place, she just left Jack a not that said she was leaving for Wisconsin.
"Wisconsin? What the hell is in Wisconsin?" Jack found himself asking this almost hourly.
Jack is constantly plagued by these sorts of thoughts. The only thing that's ever comforted him has been a pint of Jack Daniels every Friday evening. He doesn't taste the whiskey anymore though; it goes down faster than a glass of lukewarm orange juice. Jack saw a lot of things in the river by the Café, he saw memories of his childhood, his wife and son, his friends that were long dead. The only face that even fazed Jack was that of his beloved son, Charlie.
Jack and Charlie did a lot of things together that you'd expect a father and son to do. Their favorite activity was hunting. They would take a trip up to Northern Maine from Connecticut, bringing with them Jack's favored rifle, a Springfield '03 with a World War II era scope, hunting knives for the two of them, and Charlie's .22. Jack remembers teaching Charlie how to shoot, and over the twenty hunting trips Jack went on with his son, Charlie became an expert marksman. Jack seems to dream about this almost nightly, but then wakes up to realize that all his memories are gone. He has nothing left. Nothing but the sparkling waters of the River Styx.