The Coffin – First page excerpt from short story

Photo by Veit Hammer on Unsplash

Gord was comfortable in his coffin.  Snugly packed in with the intentions of his family.

~~~~~~

Anyways, that is how he sees himself.

The steam from their mugs was curling and unfurling in the cloudy light of an early Saturday November afternoon.  It’s because Gord kept his house on the cool side that steam was so obvious.  And perhaps that is why he had so few visitors.  Perhaps that was his plan.

Placing a mug of hot green tea on the kitchen table in front of Cedar, his grand-daughter, he slid into the chair opposite her.  

‘Mmm, thanks GG’.  GG is grandpa Gord.

You could smell the crisp green tea distinct, but not in opposition, to the history of the house.   Gord had arrived here in this house as a newlywed, became a father, businessman and grandfather.  And now he has become a widower in this house.

How can you call something that is three years old brand new?  But that is how it felt every morning when Gord would wake up surprised to be alone.  Gord hated the play on words but it was so apropos:  Linda’s sickness was just like her – short and sweet.

To create space on the table he neatly stacked off to one side his library books that were making the place look a little disheveled.  On top of the books he tossed his toque that a different granddaughter gave him last Christmas.  He had been outside on the small front porch fiddling with the Christmas lights when Cedar arrived.  Cedar didn’t arrive late but he just became too anxious and couldn’t wait for her inside.  It wasn’t weird that GG had asked her to come over but it wasn’t a random invitation in the flow of things either.

  

Gord wanted to take a sip of his tea so as not to appear he was jumping straight into his story without being social with small talk.  But by the feel of the mug in his palm he could tell it was still too hot to drink.

‘Cedar, how have you been, school and all?’ Gord manufactured conversation.

‘Pretty good.  Ya, school is busy with exams around the corner.’

It was getting awkward pretty fast so Gord just launched in.

‘I realized that something was missing.  I don’t know if I felt it was missing in me or in them to some degree, but for some reason I wasn’t able to provoke some sense of vision in life in my 3 children when I was …,  in my role as their father.’

He didn’t want there to be unclarity.  Or any sense of guilt for his children.  For them to get their medium-sized inheritance.  His children’s inheritance for Gord validated all the time he spent making money and not making connections with them.  But he did have one condition that he hoped would be fulfilling for everyone involved.  At this point he really couldn’t see them falling into a fight over his money.  At the same time something told him they wouldn’t follow through with his wish if he wasn’t proactive.  That is why Cedar was sitting in front of him now.

According to Gord, what he wanted wasn’t complicated or demanding. 

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