The Argument


It was a beautiful day in Chicago according to the radio weatherman. Grant Park by the lakefront was in bloom. Buckingham Fountain was shooting water up 150 feet into the sky. Then it all cascaded down onto the seahorse statues at the base of the fountain.

Behind the fountain the skyscrapers reached for the sky. In the harbor the sailboats bobbed up and down on the sun speckled water.

A man and woman were sitting on a bench looking at the fountain water go up and then splash down. The man was blond and heavy set in his mid-thirties. He was wearing a black tee shirt and black trousers which contrasted with his pale skin. His face had a sour expression.

The woman also had blond hair and dark clothes. She was older, maybe late forties. She had tears running down her cheeks. Her mascara was running also.

The man and woman were brother and sister.

“Dad’s getting worse, Sue, what are we going to do about it?” John said, noticeably upset.

“Well, you’re not going to push him off on me, John. You get me so mad that I start crying.”

John was oblivious to Sue’s tears.

“I just suggested that you take Dad in for six months while I get married and go on my honeymoon. When Alice and I get settled, then we can make some permanent plans for the old man.”

“Six months! Come on, John, I’ve got a life too! I can’t be saddled with a senile old man. What will Tom think? It might just destroy our fragile relationship. It’s probably my last chance at happiness!”

Six months later:

“Well, John, now that you’ve had your way and got rid of Dad while you got settled with Alice, now what? What are we going to do with this eighty year old man that doesn’t even seem like our father? I’m lucky Tom is still interested in me.”

“Well, I can’t take him, period. Alice is now pregnant. We just couldn’t cope. We will have to put him in a home,” said John, not even looking at Sue.

Sue nodded reluctantly.

A year later, after their father’s funeral: John and Sue were siting on the bench by Buckingham Fountain.

“Well, I hope you’re satisfied, John. Dad died in that home of a broken heart,” said Sue, accusingly.

“You didn’t want to take him either, Sue. Don’t throw all the guilt on me.”

“Maybe we could have made his life happier at the last, but that’s water under the bridge now,” said Sue.

“We will just have to live with our guilt feelings, Sue.”

Sue got up and walked away from her brother.

It started to rain.

5 thoughts on “The Argument

  1. Things like this make me afraid to get any older. Becoming someone every dreads because I’m no longer as capable as I used to be fills me with dread.
    I liked your funny stories better! Too scary.

  2. A very touching reality. I had to put my mother in a nursing home. I have to say I did not care for you story, I’m sorry but I like to read to escape the harsh realities of life, not to look back on them. Please write funny, happy stories and make us all laugh.
    cousin Jim

  3. It looks like I’m different than Marta and Jim. I liked the story very much. I too dread the day I will be the “old man” of the story, and I don’t want to be a burden on anyone. That’s why I am in favor of us being able to choose how and when we go. Too bad there aren’t enough people like me to get the laws changed.

  4. I agree with you, Tom. I, too, want to choose how and when I go if I can’t take care of myself. All our lives we have choices, yet when we need help to effect a simple primary decision to ease out of life: especially when we want to avoid becoming a living shell, stuck in bed, in pain, and thereby condemning our relatives to the caring suffering, we are denied that primary choice. I hope the laws will be changed soon.
    Writer Dave

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