Part 1: In which I muse on the tragic circumstances of life and its inevitable end.
It's hard to feel sympathy for a man you have spent your entire life hating. It is even harder trying not to feel sympathy for him when he dies, because you still hate him.
It was in the latter predicament I found myself in as I stood awkwardly in a black suit, standing over the casket of my late father. A funeral wreath over the coffin spelled out the name "WALLY" in tacky flowers. My tie was stuffed haphazardly in my pocket; I had removed it because it had begun to choke me. No, it would be remiss of me to blame it on the tie when it was his face which had caused a lump to form in my throat. Lying there he looked undeservedly peaceful and - far worse - he looked like me. The likeness was as undeniable as it was unbearable. I wondered if in 22 years I would be lying there in a room full of people I had despised; I resolved to ensure that would never happen. I leant over, careful to ensure my jacket didn't crease, and kissed his brow. His skin was ice on my lips, but it was no more warmth than I had grown to expect from him.
"At least now it's over." I said to him. I heard mumblings behind me. No doubt several of the other attendees were discussing the estranged son trying in vain to reconcile with his dead father.
"I'm sorry to have to be the one to inform you, Mr Jones, but your father passed away this morning. We believe his heart finally gave out and our attempts to revive him were unsuccessful." It was the doctor who had treated him that called me, which was a nice touch.
I'm not sure why a 47 year old's heart would suddenly give out, but I like to think it was karma. I remembered being 15 and standing in the same spot over my mother's sad face. My father had stood stoic and stone-faced beside me while tears poured down my face. I felt my eyes burn at the memory and fought against the torrent that wanted to burst forth.
Part 2: In which I engage in the fundamentals of man's creation and share my moment of defeat.
A warm hand defrosted the cold shoulder I had been giving the room. It didn't require so much as a glance to know the hand clasping my shoulder belonged to Evelyn. She was wearing a black cocktail dress and a sombre expression. Her usual amber locks had been dyed black and pulled into a bun; she always had a sense of occasion.
"Thinking about your mother?" She guessed when she saw my eyes. She could walk through a crowded street without a care as to what those she passed thought, but the moment she looked into my eyes she knew exactly what was on my mind. "Come on, if you stay here you'll do something stupid."
"There's a fair chance of that happening anyway." I replied, but she had already locked our fingers together. She pulled me to the door; I didn't resist.
Her kitchen smelled of ground coffee at all times, though all I had ever seen her make was tea. Today it was Earl Grey, which I had always thought was a morning tea. "I thought it was mourning tea!" she had replied. When the tea was brewed I placed it on her coffee - or more aptly tea - table and folded my jacket over the arm of the chair before sitting down. Evelyn took a seat next to me with her legs beneath her. "You never said what happened to your mother."
I let a moment of silence pass between us before I spoke, judging how best to answer. "My father." I looked in her eyes as I remembered the light leaving my mother's. Once again I knew that she had seen what I was thinking; knowledge possessed solely by me the moment my father died. She didn't speak, or nod; she didn't reply in and traditional sense. Instead, she deftly rose from her seat and in one practiced motion unzipped her dress and let it fall down her back and over her bare buttocks. I remembered the first time we met.
I was standing at a bar waiting to get served when I noticed a woman far too attractive for such a place. She leant over the bar and stole a bottle of Jack. As she bent over my eyes naturally followed the hem of her dress as it rose provocatively up her leg.
"If you stare at my ass any harder it's liable to set alight." She'd said. I stood speechless, trying to think of something to say that wouldn't make me sound like a pervert; she looked in my eyes and smiled, then pulled me over to an empty table.
Three years later and I did not have a single bad memory of her. I cherished them all, even the fights. We stumbled to the bedroom, our lips never separating.
Part 3: In which my destiny in life becomes apparent and I commune with the dead.
It was early morning, I could feel it without the need for a clock to tell me as much. A full moon hung in the starless sky casting its sight on Evelyn's naked form as she lay sleeping, serene. My vision, however, was fixed on something far more dangerous yet equally beautiful. In a velvet lined box, usually hidden away behind underwear, was the glistening revolver she had shown to me some months ago. I headed into the bathroom.
The harsh fluorescence of the light temporarily stole my sight from me and when it returned I dare say I wish it hadn't. Staring at me from the mirror were the cold, dead eyes of my father.
"I thought it was over." I mumbled, my lip quivered as I staggered through every word.
"Not yet, boy. Soon." My father replied in his gruff voice; I broke down in tears.
"Men don't cry, boy. Some dead whore is no reason to blubber. Don't make me tell you twice." He'd said, every word reeking of Bourbon. Even as he stood at her funeral he was the same drunken bully he had always been and would always be.
I raised the gun to my head and placed the cold steel against my temple. "Walter." I nodded at my father, who held an identical revolver against his own head.
"Walstoncraft." He replied.
I pulled the trigger.