Copyright by Lynn Bridge
6 3/8″ x 5 5/8″ x 1 3/8″
This is your third installment of the short story “Pink” (copyright by Lynn Bridge). The main character is Harry, a man trying to live his life in spite of his dementia. The story is about a day full of revelations for Harry.
Harry didn’t remember the trip home from the shopping center very well. He suspected that he had gotten lost a few times trying to locate his car in the enormous parking lot, and he also thought he remembered some impatient driver blasting the horn of a pickup truck behind him on the street.
Harry didn’t live far from the Home Depot; the shopping center had been built rather recently in a fit of construction frenzy on the part of a developer eager to profit from the resurgence of interest in this part of town. Harry enjoyed having a shopping center so convenient to his house and he tried to recall any shopping areas he might have seen around Happy Village.
After eating a slice from the pan of lasagna that someone had sent home with him after the last church supper, he ambled out to the garage, a dark, somewhat cluttered space, and opened up his can of paint on the workbench.
He was startled by the brightness, the intensity of color of the paint inside. The light coming in from the streaked window caused the pink paint to glow amid the grease-coated tools and dusty unfinished projects cluttering the work surface.
He pulled a color-encrusted mixing paddle off its hook on the garage wall and slowly swirled the paint in the can. The color reminded him of the medicine he had taken a few weeks ago when his digestive system refused a different medicine given him for an infected toe.
He’d damaged his toe; mashed it, actually, when he had dropped a frozen chunk of stew beef onto his foot.
Harry prided himself on his cooking skills; always bragged about his baking escapades, when he’d make peach cobbler for the senior citizens’ group or cookies for the entire church congregation at the reception following worship on Sunday morning. He noticed that he had been bringing home more and more leftovers, but he attributed this to the fact that he had made such generous portions in the first place.
On the occasion when he had damaged his toe, he had been preparing to make a pot of stew for himself and was removing the beef from the freezer when it had slipped from his trembling hands and dropped onto his bare foot. Anyway, the swelling in the toe had subsided after a few days and he had forgotten about the frozen beef incident.
When his shoe started pinching his foot and causing a dull ache in the damaged toe, he made a trip to his doctor and found out that he had developed an infection that required antibiotics in order to heal.
The pharmacist had counseled him that the medication could cause an upset stomach if he swallowed the capsules without also eating a snack, but he hadn’t paid much attention to the pharmacist’s words until later on, when he became quite ill after taking his first dose. While he was in the bathroom recovering, he looked at the array in the medicine cabinet, and had decided upon swallowing a pink liquid in a bottle he found there.
He couldn’t read the print on the label, but the contents looked familiar, and he figured that if he were to swallow just a little, he couldn’t feel worse afterward, and might even feel better. The liquid oozed down his throat, and some time later he realized that he was no longer sick.
He really hadn’t thought about that episode again until now, when he gazed at the pink paint swirling in the can.
(to be continued….)