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Oh Blue

Time is no ally to man.

A young couple in Africa thought it was on their side. They vowed to make their flesh one because they saw a future together. All they had was time a head of them.

But time was no friend of theirs. It beat down on them as they raised their four children. In only forty years, they went from chasing their little ones in their home garden to barely being able to go down the stairs without help.

The couple’s bones became feeble. Walking became too much for the father. He was reduced to a wheelchair. Time took the mother’s eyes next. There was not a thing the doctor could do as the black spots in her eyes grew bigger.

Daily activities like washing the dishes or even bathing themselves became an impossible task. They had only one saving grace, their son Blue.

Blue was the eldest of the old couple’s four children. A tough man that hid a jovial attitude behind his imposing figure. A church-going man that was often found in a suit and tie even when the sun was out. He was known for his tight hug that could put people at ease and his bright smile that people couldn’t help but return.

The couple’s other children had families of their own to look after, but Blue made time for his parents.

When his mother went blind, Blue bought groceries and cooked for her. His mother taste-tested his creations. She gave him a nudge in the right direction if he strayed too far from her recipe.

When his father became too weak to walk, Blue took care of the house for him. He cut the grass and fixed up the roof. His father refused to sit aside as Blue did all the work. He handed Blue the tools and tried to steady the ladder when he had the strength to.

Blue helped his father into the bathtub at night. And chose the clothes for his mother to wear the night before. All of this he did not because he had to. But because he wanted to.

He was their son. This was the least he could do.

Time took another thing from the old couple.

A son. Blue’s younger brother. He had only turned thirty-seven a few months before. He was far too young, but that was all that time he got.

Blue was the one who had to break the news to his parents. He and his father spent the better part of a week trying to calm his mother down.

The rest of the old couple’s children returned back home. A funeral was prepared. Blue was placed in charge of arrangements. This he had to do not because he wanted to but because he had to.

He chose the best place for the wake. It happened to be the same place Blue’s grandfather’s wake had taken place in, many years before.

Back then Blue’s father had to drag him into the room to pay his respects. Blue was only ten at the time He had never seen death before. But there it was in the middle of everyone. The old man who had told Blue to stay out of trouble and ruffled his hair laid cold in a casket.

Blue’s father

That day stayed with Blue. He never forgot what his grandfather’s face looked like on the day. The old man had had a permanent wide smile on his face.Blue and Blue’s father inherited that from him. But on that day, there was no smile on the old man’s face. And there never would be again.

Blue had made arrangements for everyone else but himself when it came to his brother’s wake. He had let his sisters take his car with his parents. There was not enough room in the car for all of them and Blue. He had to call an old friend to drive him.

His pal was on his way to the wake anyhow so it was the best move. Blue hadn’t seen his friend since high school. His old pal was only in town because of the wake. The two friends caught up on everything that had happened.

Blue’s pal told him all about the accounting firm he worked for in Nigeria. Blue had never been to Nigeria and that set off another discussion on how the weather was. They eventually turned the conversation around Blue’s brother.

Blue asked his friend if he remembered that time he and his brother got into a fight. His friend told him it had been too long. So Blue told him all about he and his brother’s fight.

His brother had been talking a bunch of crap to some older boys at the school. He knew they couldn’t touch him during school hours since he was so much younger than them. But he never expected them to be waiting for him as he walked home with Blue.

Blue’s brother had jumped behind him as soon as he saw the boys. The older boys told Blue to step out of the way so they could give his brother the beating he deserved. Then Blue decked one of the boys in the mouth.

His friend piped in that he remembered now. He had joined in! And they all got their asses kicked very badly. He told Blue that his brother had been a good man.

There came a curve in the road. On the side of the road was a yellow sign that read slow down. Blue’s friend was too engaged in conversation to notice.

A tractor trailer was coming down the other side. The driver honked his horn. Blue’s pal panicked! He pressed down on the gas pedal instead of the brake! The driver of the trailer swerved away to try and save their lives.

But Blue’s pal swerved too.

Only a couple weeks after losing one son, the old couple lost another.

For the rest of their days, they waited for their own time to run out so they could see their Blue one more time.

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