They said he had a “cold heart,” called him “distant,” called him”indifferent.” Called him a “heart-breaker,” they thought him a monster. It hurt, and he was happy to be hurt, happy that he cared about their opinions, as though he had proved them wrong – shown that he cared about something, if only himself.
His mother called him her little boy, called him “golden-hearted,” called him her “beautiful little man.”
It wasn’t his fault that none of them could hold a candle to her love, wasn’t his fault they couldn’t cook, couldn’t hold him, couldn’t keep house the way that she could.
He kept coming back, would hold her in his arms, single yet taken by his mother: frail and slowly dying in this veil of tears. The sudden assaults of this fast-paced world – “so unlike the old country, so far away,” she would whisper to him after each fresh injustice – the slow grinding of the glaciers of time, each new day another step closer, another step further away.
He held her in his arms as she lay slowly dying, held her in arms like iron, held her body as the warmth slipped from her, held her as he wept.
When he woke in the morning it was as if from a bad dream, and he ran to her bedside with her coffee in his paw, black as tar and twice as thick, just as she liked it. He ran to her bedside to see her – a hollow, empty shell in the widow’s black she’d worn for thirty years.
He felt the cold of death rise in his bones, knew the truth of it in that instant. Felt the cold in his now-empty heart, knew it would never be filled. “Momma,” he whispered, “Momma, I’m scared…”
Just a quick, exactly 300 word long short story for Trifecta who challenged us this week to use the third definition of the word “heart”: personality, disposition (a cold heart), which is, in hindsight, exactly how I used it. Hmmmmmmm… I also managed to use one of this week’s InMonprompts, single and taken. Comments and criticism always welcome, sorry I haven’t been responding this week, my Internet connexion has been shady at best…