Joanne Faries


Richard ignored his cell, but contemplated the reason for his sister’s call as he jogged through the park. I shouldn’t have accused her of mooching off Dad. That was harsh. I wonder if he’s talked to her. Richard frowned and headed home to shower.  

A zizz of the blender. He poured his strawberry smoothie and called his father. They covered the usual – doctor visit, sports, and weather. He eked Lizzie’s name into the conversation and his father shut him down. “None of your business, son.”  

Richard signed off. Hell, he’s sending her money.  

Determined to start afresh, he returned Lizzie’s call. He listened to her abrupt clipped words and family history washed over him. He commiserated with Lizzie and they were once again two frightened nervous kids, picking up bottles, hoping their mother would wake up. He thanked her for the call and they agreed to get together soon.  

Richard picked up his glass and wandered around his living room, scanning framed photos. He stopped and picked up one from twenty years ago. Gaps in my teeth are symbolic. Like our lives, never did fill in right.  

One more call. “Dad, you should know. Mom’s dead and Lizzie’s got the details for services…No, I won’t attend.  Funeral serves a distinct function. Fond farewell. Closure. Amends. None of that necessary on my account…I’ve got no regrets. See ya Sunday for the game.”  

Richard opened a cupboard and, with one last look, stuffed away the family portrait.

First published: February, 2009
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