500 Word Short Story
A Change of Heart
Scott A. Gese

500 Word Short Story

The old man sat motionless behind the wheel

Before him was the cliff. All he had to do was step on the gas and it would all be over in a few seconds. He had made it this far, but now, faced with the possibility of impending death, the end of his ninety-plus years on this earth, the end of his life as he knew it, he hesitated and he remembered.

He remembered all the firsts in his life. His first job. The first time he saw a television set. His first car, his first date and his first kiss. Her name was Emma. She had the reddest lips, big brown eyes and auburn hair. The memories were now pouring in. Lost within the dark recesses of his mind for so many years, they now broke loose and came flooding forward like a tsunami wave heading back to shore.

He recalled his wife of seventy years. He still loved her even though she had passed on some ten years ago. Secretly, he had always wanted her to go first. To spare her from the grief he knew would come. To spare her from the loneliness he now felt. He knew her, and thought he could handle it better than her. He didn't realize how hard it would be or that it would last so long. Why was he lingering here? Why hadn't he passed on right after her like so many couples he had known?

He recalled his kids. Two girls and a boy. His son was killed in action. He was given a metal and the flag that draped his sons coffin. It was a worthless consolation for the loss of his only son. His two girls grew up and grew old. One passed last year. He lived with the other. He was a burden to her and he knew it.

He recalled many things as he sat behind that wheel. He looked out over the ocean ahead of him. He couldn't see the secluded beach below. He had left a note behind so his daughter would be able to find him. He knew she would be distraught, but at the same time relieved.

As he sat there in deep thought, a knock on the window brought him back. It was a police officer.

“Mr. Sheridon, are you OK?”

“How do you know who I am?” The old man asked.

“Your license plate. Are you OK? Your daughter's worried about you. She told us where to find you. She thought you may have driven over the cliff.”

“No, I think I've changed my mind on that. I think I want to go home.”

“That's good Mr. Sheridan. Why don't you let me give you a ride.”

He turned off the ignition and stepped out of the car.

The family on the beach directly below the cliff enjoyed a picnic lunch on a beautiful day. Unaware of what was taking place just above their heads.

© Copyright 2018 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved.

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