First post of 2012 (and a Happy New Year to everyone) – this short story is in response to the prompts from ‘Inspiration Monday’
Don’t Look At Me Like That
Don’t look at me like that, please, turn away, stop it. My tears well up as I stare into your lifeless eyes. That big friendly smile is still there, stretching from ear to ear, but it has become detached from your eyes. Once you smiled with both, but now you smile and don’t know why.
“Are you warm enough dad?” I hear myself saying. Do I care? Do I really care? It’s as though I need to say something, anything, just to help the minutes tick by a little quicker. You say nothing. You just smile that hollow smile.
“What about a drink dad? How about a cup of tea?” My voice desperately trying to fill that awkward silence. I know you won’t reply, you never do. I’ll make you a drink, something for me to do, but you won’t drink it. You’ll just sit there and smile. It’s not even as if you are smiling at me, you’re not. This is just your smile, available to anyone and everyone. Meaningless.
“I’m off then dad. Be back to see you tomorrow.” That’s it, my duty done for another day. You won’t even notice I’ve gone, nor remember that I visited. I’ll take my guilt with me, hating myself for not wanting to be here. I’ll wave goodbye, put on a smile, for conventions sake, but it doesn’t mean anything anymore. You won’t wave back or give me one of your special smiles. Oh, you’ll smile, but it won’t be for me. It’s just something you do all the time now – smile to hide your confusion and fear.