Author’s Note: This story is inspired, indirectly, by this post here. Go have a look. And prepare to get kicked in the feels.
Max holds a pair of glasses in arthritic hands, plastic frames around glass lenses. They are old, at least half a century. Worn every day. He runs a thumb across the top of a lens, making sure not to leave a smudge.
Those glasses have seen the best parts of his life. They have seen his three kids from the day they were born. They have seen life unfold in a small house built by his own hands. They have seen his triumphs and failures and hopes and dreams.
If those glasses could talk, they’d speak of love and joy and happiness. There would be some sorrow and fear and heartache. That won’t last long. Glasses can’t lie. They can only tell the truth. Agony and pain are only fleeting things to behold.
Beauty and kindness are what they saw the most. Even the tear falling from Max’s eye, falling down onto his thumb, rolling down onto the lens. That tear is beautiful, an echo of what inspires it. Those glasses speak the truth, and they only speak of kindness, in a voice that is too loud to hear.
But the echoes are everywhere.
A knock on the door, the door opening on squeaky hinges. Max hears a voice. It is his eldest son, Arthur. “Dad,” says Arthur, “I’m sorry if I’m interrupting. We’re taking the kids over to the cemetery. What’s that you got there?”
“Your mother’s glasses,” says Max. “I found them. She didn’t have them at the hospital.”
“Oh, Jesus,” says Arthur. “Mom wore those all the time. Should we take them with us? We could bury them with her.”
Sorrow builds in Max’s chest. It hurts and throbs, locks his throat, radiates out to his arms. His hands tremble. Losing her hurts him all over again.
The glasses are there, looking up at him. The sorrow fades. He takes a deep breath in, and he lets it all out. He takes another breath, and fills himself with warmth. Max stands up, and puts the glasses back where he found them. “No, she wouldn’t want that,” he says. “She left them here for a reason. She always looked kindly at everything. She’s telling us we can do it too.”
Arthur clenches his jaw. He says, “I’m going to miss her, dad.”
Max eases himself across the room and gives his son a hug. He whispers, “You don’t have to. Be kind, like her, and she’ll never be gone.”