Liam Hua, Grade 8
The old man stood still in his room, dust gathering on top of the area like a slim sheet of snow. The room was filled with nothing but memories stored in framed rectangular photos. He would stare endlessly at them, the only things he had left. Nurses would come, neighbours would start knocking, but he didn’t move. No, instead he would sit there so still as if he was a rock at the bottom of the ocean. He was dying, it wasn’t hard to tell. His body was giving up on him and slowly becoming an endless hollow shell.
His wife died when giving birth to his son, little use that was. His son had abandoned him, corrupted by greed and power. It was as if his son were nothing but a vague memory that had now faded away. No help came from the boy, nothing, not even a single visit. On top of that, the boy even asked to be a part of the old man’s will “I better get some of that dough, old fart, we all know you’re dying soon anyway” were his exact words through a letter. Despite this, the old man was never angry, or envious. He always thought that it would only make him as bad as his son.
He surfed through the photos, savouring each look, knowing too well what was slowly approaching him. One particular photo caught his eye, a picture of his son when he was first born. A small tear ran down his rough skin, trickling past his intricately detailed wrinkles. A smile caught on his mouth like a fish on a line, quick and strong.
“That son of mine.” he muttered, his voice hoarse and dry, similar to the sound of sand paper.
He continued searching the aimless rows of photos, the old man stifled a sniff as he passed a portrait of a mid-aged woman. “Oh how I miss you, my darling wife.” he said as he blew the portrait an imaginary kiss.
He stretched his arm to pick up a particular photograph, the frame etched with golden vines and flowers. Tears dropped away from his eyes, now making an unmistakeable dry stained puddle. The photo resembled what little hope he still had left, the picture being a whole portrait of his family, or, what used to be his family.
The old man lifted the portrait up to the left side of his chest, just underneath his heart. He felt it, the small yet subtle pump of his heart. Thud…thud…thud, wasn’t long to go now.
He was right. As if on time, the old man choked, the air closing in on his throat. He took one last yawning breath before he collapsed with the photograph shattering on the floor. Despite the glass shattered all over his arms with the dull coloured blood leaking from the cuts in his skin, the man was still holding onto the photo, never letting go. No, he would never let go.