Excerpt- That Damned Chair

chair Dementia patient 3a

Harry sat steadfast in his favorite armchair, looking determinedly out across the courtyard, his grey stubble chin jutting out like chiseled marble, his lips pursed tightly together. He nervously rubbed his hands back and forth across the floral linen fabric on the arm of the chair. It was barely holding together, the piping on the edges somehow clinging to the last remaining strands of fiber. Holes erupted from the worn linen like tiny explosions, revealing tufts of soiled white padding that had been so masterfully applied some time back in ’47. It was more than threadbare- this familiar purveyor of comfort, but Harry loved that chair and remembered Eleanor choosing it all those years ago. It was their first joint purchase.

Old Harry had an impressive physique in his youth and was inherently muscular and broad shouldered. But age had not been all that kind to him. His once engaging stature was now fragile, merely holding together what was left of him, turned inward and receding. Harry’s dark eyes were once deep endless pools, but now appeared like pale brown earth. The white rings that now edged them were like leaching salt from the soil extremities. Harry’s tanned skin, although still olive was now a patchwork quilt of discolorations and displayed the deeply etched lines of a weathered life. But still, within this failing mortal shell survived a pride and determination that not even time could temper.
The front door suddenly opened wide with a high-pitched creak and Terry burst through carrying an old cardboard box filled with dusty LP’s. He looked furtively down the empty hallway, then poked his head around the bedroom door, but Harry was nowhere to be seen. Terry then made his way through the stacked boxes and eclectic memorabilia in the lounge-room toward the sun-room at the rear of the flat. There was Harry, glued to that chair as always. Terry ambled over and crouched down beside him but Harry didn’t flinch, he simply remained staring through the glass doors with stubborn eyes, looking at   nothing in particular.
‘Dad?’ said Terry, softly. ‘What do you want to do with these old records?’
Harry didn’t turn nor speak. He simply stuck out his chin defiantly, just a little further than before, wiggling it from side to side as he gnashed his few remaining teeth together. Terry lowered his head and sighed for a moment, then peered into his Dad’s lost expression. With the box resting precariously on his knee, he placed his hand over Harry’s forearm and squeezed it reassuringly.
‘Everything’s going to be alright, Dad.’
Harry snorted indignantly in response, his expression unyielding. Terry relinquished his vain attempt at communication, rescued the box from his knee and rose slowly to his feet, looking down on his dad with sorrow in his eyes. He felt completely helpless but worse, he felt a gnawing, insidious guilt deep down inside.
‘I’ll take care of everything. You don’t have to worry about a thing,’ said Terry, sadly returning to the garage.
Val, his sister met him on the way out. ‘Is he OK?’
Terry shrugged and looked soulfully into her rather matron-like eyes. They were clear and resolute but as always appeared a little cold and hard.
‘He won’t utter a word.’ Val just returned a scathing look and put both hands on her hips, fed up with all the drama.
‘He’s just being stubborn. We’re doing this for him, for God’s sake! If he’s going to act like a bloody child, then we’ll just have to treat him like one,’ she finished, storming into the house to start cleaning the kitchen.
Harry had heard them talking and although he couldn’t quite make out all of the words, he certainly felt their intent.
‘Eighty three isn’t a bad age for a bloke,’ he thought. ‘Life’s been fair- had the good with the bad, but when your own kids turn on ya. Well….there’s not much point livin after that.’
Harry felt a tear welling in his eye and quickly wiped it away, looking fleetingly over his shoulder to make sure that no one was there.

Authors note: Its a sad circumstance when your parents get too old to take care of themselves, and so many emotions are intertwined in carrying out what can be seen as pure betrayal. This but a snippet.

Tony DeLorger

Full time author, freelance writer, poet and blogger since 1999. Twenty one published works, past winner of 'Poet of the Year' on HubPages, 'Poem of the Year' on The Creative Exiles, writer for Allpoetry.com, Google+, tonydwtf.blogspot.com.au
videos on YouTube and book sales on website thoughtsforabeautifulmind.com, Amazon and digitalprintaustralia.com.au/bookstore

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Tony DeLorger

Full time author, freelance writer, poet and blogger since 1999. Twenty one published works, past winner of 'Poet of the Year' on HubPages, 'Poem of the Year' on The Creative Exiles, writer for Allpoetry.com, Google+, tonydwtf.blogspot.com.au videos on YouTube and book sales on website thoughtsforabeautifulmind.com, Amazon and digitalprintaustralia.com.au/bookstore

12 thoughts on “Excerpt- That Damned Chair

  • April 14, 2016 at 9:23 AM
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    A very “real” story, Tony. I often wonder what it will be like when that inevitable time comes and I have to rely on my children. This story definitely makes you contemplate the future in a way you’d rather not. “Than Damned Chair” is that the correct title? Well written.

    Reply
  • April 14, 2016 at 9:44 AM
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    Thanks John, glad you related and yes a typo, which I will fix immediately. Thanks mate!

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  • April 16, 2016 at 12:00 PM
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    You told a story that’s not all that uncommon. There are many instances where this very thing happens, I know that I’m a prime candidate, that’s why I won’t allow myself to become wheelchair bound or in a state of mind that I don’t know my name or spittle is dripping down my chin. I saw it in my father, his last few remaining days in a Vet’s hospital, he stared into another world the whole time I visited, I wiped the dribble with a Kleenex. Give me my gun please before that decision is made by my kids. If one can’t die in dignity and at peace, knowing you feel the LOVE then it’s all for not, I’d sooner end it quickly.

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    • April 17, 2016 at 4:40 AM
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      Yes my friend, a sad demise, losing mind and body. I’d rather end it cleanly too, but sometimes we are not in control. In any case, this is life and I wrote this as a 5,000 word short story: this a small extract. My mate’s dad had Alzheimer and used to run away and get lost, eventually being put in a home, begrudgingly. Appreciate you kindness my friend.

      Reply
  • April 16, 2016 at 5:09 PM
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    My gosh! This brings back memories of my Mother when she could no longer take care of herself. The vacant stares, the silence at times, the far away look in her eyes, the tell-tale signs that she was in deep thought. We kept her at home when she was released from the hospital after doctors said there was no hope. At times she came back to us, laughed, cried, reminisced with us then fall asleep. Tony, your descriptive way of letting us know your characters is so wonderful and so deeply felt. There were times when Mom would ignore us and be stubborn, but she did appreciate that we brought her home to be with family, 32 of us taking turns being with her at all times. She left us in peace. Your story really touched my heart and made me realize how very important it is to keep the elderly close to family, to respect them and give their last days as much joy as possible. Funny, Mom was, so full of life. Thanksgiving came and all 32 of us found places, and sat around her in the large living room where her hospital bed had been placed. She was determined to eat her full Thanksgiving dinner – and she ate more than most of us! Two days later she left us, but happy she was. We knew we did the right thing. Boy! I am rambling here. Thank you, Tony, for this story. I so appreciate the message it conveys, and am so thankful we gave Mom peace and joy by gathering round her.

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  • April 17, 2016 at 4:42 AM
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    We all experience these sad events at some time, and its hard on both parent and children, watching this slow and insidious demise. Glad you appreciate what is a sad subject, but one all too common. Take care Phyllis.

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  • April 17, 2016 at 5:21 AM
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    Nice job Tony. It’s all too real for me. I count my years by the score and am closing in on four. The eye doctor told me I’m fine and don’t need glasses. The RMV laughed me out of the office when I tried to pass the eye test. The ear doctor said though my hearing has deteriorated, $5,000 aural amps probably won’t help me. And the foot doctor! When I told him my feet were starting to bother me on my three mile walks, he said I should probably stop walking. Then there was the heart doctor who panicked when I told her that I was feeling a shortness of breath when I ran a mile or two. She dispatched me to a stress test treadmill and after five or ten minutes when I told them to turn it up higher, they said, “What are you doing here anyway?” The point is that I feel these people are trying to put me in a box long before my time. I won’t go. My fingers still fly on the keys and will do so for some time. I hope that my flights will be as smooth as the cushion on that well worn ‘damned chair’.

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  • April 17, 2016 at 6:06 AM
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    Well said Bill, and I hear ya! My best friend is 88 years young, he utterly refused to go anywhere. And I’m with him. Sounds like your doing pretty well my friend. So don’t let bloody doctors tell you anything, and anyway I always used to say- I’ll forever be a writer, even if all I have left is a brain and two fingers to type. lol Appreciate your comment and write on my friend.

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  • May 15, 2016 at 6:54 PM
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    Tony this reminded me of my parents too, who I took care of and especially my mom who could not be left alone and I had no one (or rarely) to stay with her and a sister and three brothers would never even come by and give me a couple of hours even. That is what my poem dead flowers is about.
    I really loved this and I just finished editing this and now you have a green light which I am so happy about so more out there can pick this up and read it! (In fact I have gotten you quite a few green ones!)

    Reply
  • May 16, 2016 at 2:40 AM
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    Thanks Jackie, that is so appreciated. I know I take artistic licence to new levels often and achieving green is a wonder to me. Poetry is such a tedious art form sometimes, and particularly in a technical sense; I often blur the rules to attain my intent. So thanks you for your assistance and glad you appreciate what I do. Take care.

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  • May 16, 2016 at 2:51 AM
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    Well never fear, we never touch the words or mess with what you created we just work around the edges best we can and many of yours that are still orange (which is OK) could probably be made green with just one more step being achieved but as I say we can do what we can with a zing here and there and happy to do it. I never realized you had so many for they are not all listed together are they? Wonder why that is? I will have to ask! lol

    Reply
  • May 16, 2016 at 2:59 AM
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    One aspect of the site I’ve never questioned is why we don’t have a page that exhibits a list of all works. and just a small thing: when an author replies to our comment, there is no notification, so unless we troll every post we do not see the replies. Just a few things for thought. Thanks Jackie, for all your work.

    Reply

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