Vergänglichkeit – Transience by D.I. Jolly
Morgan sat up in bed reading and thought about how much times he’d spend doing that exact same thing, and it made him stop and chuckle. He remembered his daughter when she was young staring at him, wondering out loud, how he could just sit there, so still, staring at a book and not getting bored. Until that moment he’d not considered the total disconnect between how he looked and what he saw. Because, from the outside, and to his young daughter, he was just sitting staring at a book. But to him he was off in another world, falling in love, learning about science or plants, or Japan. His mind was filled with words and the pictured they painted. Whereas all she saw was her father sitting in a chair, staring at a book, occasionally moving his hand and somehow, through some kind magic, not getting bored.
Morgan liked those kinds of memories, the fun in-between moments when small insights brought a new perspective on life and how he viewed it. Even if it was just something silly. His smile faded as his eye refocused on the words and he fell back into the book he was reading. Time passed and slowly he closed his eyes and let the book fall gently against his chest.
In the morning when his daughter came in to check on him, she stopped and had to stifled a giggle. The memory of thinking he stared at books came to her as well and mingled with just how often she found him asleep with a book in his hands and glasses sitting at a jaunty angle on his face. She stared on for a moment smiling until she noticed something odd about him, something different. Something she’d not seen before. Everything appeared normal, or as it had every other day since he’d moved in, but it wasn’t. She stepped forward slowly and nervously and only realised at the last moment before touching him that he wasn’t breathing.
She reached a shaking hand out to touch his cold skin and tears rolled down her cheeks. It had happened. She sat down in the chair next to his bed, the same chair she had sat in every morning for months while they had their morning conversation and wiping the tears from her eyes. She once again remembered how often she’d found him in exactly the same position, and how when she’d wake him, he’d always say the same thing.
“Oh, I wasn’t sleeping, I just wanted to get a better look at what was going on in the book.”
And it made her smile, the idea that now he was just off in the land of the books, of his imagination, getting a better look at everything there. As she stared, she noticed the smallest smile and although her heart filled with sadness, she could also feel it fill with joy. He had been a good man, and had died with a smile on his face and a book in his hands, and in the quiet part of her mind, she hoped that when her time came, she’d be that lucky too.