Tethered

by Joe Kilgore

 

Outside my window, across the manicured lawn and down the sloping hill, there is a pond. Each day its beauty is enhanced and my spirit renewed as the sun colors it two striking shades of green—lime near the bank, deep olive beyond. Normally, its pristine beauty evokes a feeling of sublime tranquility.

 

To my horror this day however, the surface roils, breaks, and erupts furiously as tiny arms flail in panic. My hands sweat. My heart races. In this damnable wheelchair there’s no way I can possibly get there in time. Cursing my impotence, I frantically dial the emergency number. They’ll dispatch someone immediately they say. I silently grasp the futility.

 

Time passes.

 

Days turn to weeks, weeks to months, months even to years. Life does what it can to compensate for withered legs and tortured dreams. The body continually adds minor ailments. Eyes become weaker. The mind mercifully subtracts some recollections. Memories become fainter. Yet vision and thought remain. The former triggers the latter. Perhaps there are some things we are meant never to forget.

 

Now, outside my window, across the manicured lawn and down the sloping hill, the pond remains. The sun continues to paint it lime and olive, but my spirit is no longer renewed. While my heart beats regularly as a metronome, my hands remain devoid of perspiration, and I have neither cause nor desire to curse the chair in which I sit—still, more often than not, I simply draw the shade. 

Joe Kilgore's short stories have won awards and been featured in magazines, anthologies, creative journals and online literary publications. One of his stories has recently been selected by The Kurt Vonnegut Museum And Library to appear in its upcoming Literary Journal. Joe is also the author of four published novels and one novella. He lives and writes in Austin, Texas. You can read more about Joe and his work at his website: https://joekilgore.com

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September 2019

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