Passing By

When the old man’s intrinsic self-contained cognitive field finally dissolved back into the background radiation of the Universe, his last thought was that of sunlight passing through a flapping curtain and childhood warmth.

The youngest daughter found him. She had gone to check on her father on the hospital bed. She had come the day before from another country. When she tried to sit him up, she found his breath was gone.

Time of death: 6.30 am

There would be no ceremony. The siblings saw to that. They had had enough of them in the last year. The neighbours didn’t understand, but they respected it. Mourning is a strange thing.

The oldest son went to check the empty flat the day after. He turned off the electricity and closed every door and window. It didn’t make much of a difference though. Many of those lightbulbs hadn’t been turned on in quite a long time. Later that day, he told his wife that he had forgotten to check whether there was any food in the fridge that could spoil. He would drop by the following day.

The cremation took place after lunch, though no one ate much that day. Only the family and a couple of neighbours were there. They met next to the parking lot, where the sun was warm. The oldest grandson stood in the shadow with his mother.

The smoke was white and unceremonial. It didn’t have odour, or taste. The eldest son stood firm. The youngest wanted to cry. The eldest sister found the air on her left hand a bit too cold and a tad too empty. The sister that had come from another country held her right hand. The sister in the middle didn’t understand. She had never understood much.

The eldest son let himself fall on the couch and told his wife that there had been two eggs and some fruit in the fridge. He also told her that the flat was crowded with pictures. Dozens of pictures of all of them. Every brother and sister, every grandson and grandaughter. He closed his eyes. He wanted to cry but didn’t.

The siblings met once more after that. They agreed to sell the flat and find a smaller, closer place for the sister that didn’t understand much. She agreed. She had never understood much.

Some time after, the flat was sold to some couple with lots of spirits and not that much money. The pictures were still there when they moved in.

They threw them away and filled the frames with their own.