Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Loser is a Selfish Prick

Every week, The Complete and Total Loser takes a commuter train from the city to the suburbs. The ride is half an hour long. From the station, it takes the Loser ten minutes to walk to his parents' house, where he has dinner with them.
dinning room table
Dinning room table.
They are both elderly and their physical and mental decline is beginning to accelerate. Tonight, the Loser asked his father what year terrorist felled the Twin Towers. "Ninety-two?" his father, never good at dates, guessed.
His mother, once a good cook, tires easily now. Dinners are frequently store-bought rotisserie chicken or easily prepared stews. Sometimes, they even get take-out Chinese.
Family friends hear of the Loser's visits and tell him he is just so kind to do that. The Loser quickly changes the subject which, to them, appears to be a show of modesty.
It's guilt.
As trying as it is to see his parents, who he loves despite their mistakes (would he have done better?), slip away, the Loser makes himself go so he'll be able to recognize his own fate when it nears and take appropriate steps. Those steps will be to go for a long walk in the woods with a pocket full of sleeping pills and a bottle of good scotch and disappear forever.

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