My father kept his marbles in a jar under his bed. He won the first one fifty years ago, from a red-haired kid named Hercules with an appetite as glorious as his name. This First Marble lies apart from the rest, in a small, wooden box the color of ripe cherries.
Father sits staring at the tire swing hanging from our oak tree in the garden. When I was ten, I fell off that swing and broke my wrist, after Zoe cast an apple at my head for kissing her boyfriend on the cheek. Father carried me in his arms and sang to me all the way to the hospital that day, his voice cracking ever so lightly at the edges.
I take the First Marble out of its box and hold it in front of him. He blinks. There is a flash behind his blurry gaze, a storm raging within. Memories crash and flood the corners of his eyes, only to draw back again, leaving an empty shore and scattered debris all around.
Father sits in his chair as life happens in front of him, without him, in spite of him. As I put the Marble back in its box I know – all he sees across the garden is a tire hanging from a tree, swinging aimlessly in the passing wind.
E.N. Loizis is a Greek writer trapped inside the body of a technical translator who lives in Germany. She writes flash fiction, poems and short stories while pretending to work on her novel. You can find her at: www.enloizis.com.