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Rowboats

                                    Christopher Woods


Go see him, his daughter pleaded. Jesus, he’s been your best friend for thirty years

He knew this, didn’t he? But he also knew he wouldn’t go see Jack today. Or tomorrow. He kept putting it off, the meeting. Months gone by now, maybe it didn’t matter. Jack would visit you, the daughter said. You know he would.

But he didn’t know if this was true or not. Even if he did want to go, and inside he was hurting to do so, he couldn’t. He could see Jack in the rowboat in the big pond. That’s where Jack’s wife put him in the morning. She came back for him in the evening, when her day was done. Jack sat in the boat with Harley, his old bloodhound. Jack’s wife had tied them together, just in case. And if by chance or fate they fell in, they would go together, probably a better ending than the one that was already on the way.

Days went by. Weeks passed. All kinds of weather. He may not be here much longer, his daughter said. You’ll be sorry. But he was already sorry, wasn’t he? Sorry that he hadn’t gone to see Jack. He had hidden his true feelings all this time. He was the kind of man who kept that heart stuff inside where it belonged. Besides, he was busy covering his own tracks now, wasn’t he? Oh yes, making sure no one noticed his own slip ups. Go on, now, Dad. Do it for me.

But how could he? The truth of it was that he no longer remembered Jack at all.


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