His hand already feels cold, but his heart hasn’t stopped beating just yet. He’s always been stubborn. The old fuck never did know when to let go. Some of that lives in me. He knows it too. Maybe that’s why he asked to see me even though it’s been six years since our last fight—since the last time our eyes met.
Now, here I am holding his dying hand. I’ve always been a pushover for melodrama. That must have come from my mother. She always did love soap operas. Regardless of the reason, I’m here as requested. However, I’m silent. I swore I’d never speak another word to him so long as he was alive. The sight of death won’t change that; I won’t break my word. He knows that too. This reticent, brazen face gives him joy. He sees himself in my stubbornness. It’s his immortality and revenge.
A thin smile blossoms on his wrinkled gray face. He knows my future. I’m looking into its coldness. Such a bitter fondness he has for me and I for him. Our hearts are bound by contempt and pity. Most children would seize this moment to express their gratitude for having been given life and say their final, “I love you,” but not me. Deep down, I despise this world. I don’t care if it’s beautiful at times. I feel the same contempt and maladjusted affection for it that I do for him. And that he knows as well.
He can see it firm and unyielding in my eyes. His smile grows into a smirk. He’s injected his hate into the world and in that won a victory. An unfamiliar darkness pools in his eyes. His pupils expand—drowning in the same light that his pickled brain will mistake for heaven. It’s here. His crusted eyelids fall. The black of his eye is hushed. I release his hand. “What a bastard,” I whisper to his corpse. My stubbornness had also defeated death, but also sealed my fate. I saw it, there, in the dark puddles of his eyes—my silent iron reflection staring back at me from the depths of nothingness. “At least,” I thought, “he was finally open with me.” I left his bedroom.
My mother, sipping a cup of coffee, looks up at me from her chair in the dining room. “He’s dead,” I said.
She nods. “Well, happy birthday,” she says. Her eyes turn back down to the silk and plastic flower centerpiece. That would be the last I ever saw of her. I walked outside to my car. It was a clear blue day with a crisp breeze. The sun tickled my face.