The Man That Couldn’t Love – Short Story AFS
There’s a man that is old. The man is lonely. He is the man that couldn’t love. He had children and never loved them. He had a wife and never loved her. He had a father that he never loved. He loved his mother but his mother never loved him. He was a man that never loved.
But he did love his children and he did love his wife and he did love those that surrounded him but he never knew how to show that love. So those around him thought that the man never loved them and could never love them. He did love them. He did love all of them but he was the man that could never show love.
A long long time again when the man was still a child he realised his father had not been there. Once he realised he then realised once again that his father had been missing not for hours, not for day but for weeks. The man who was a child asked his mother.
‘Mother where is my father?”
The mother replied.
“He has gone away and wont be coming back to us”
The man who was a child at this point asked, “Why”.
The mother replied.
“He doesn’t love us son”
The mother then went onto continue to make dinner without another word about the boy’s father. Man years would pass before the child would meet his father again.
The man when a child had just discovered that love could become undone without even noticing the love becoming undone. The child had lost love but still had his mother.
One day not too long after this the mother took the child to his grandmothers. The child loved his grandmother very much and loved playing with the children that were always at his grandmother’s house. They loved the child also and always treated the child like a young brother.
One day, two days and many days passed. The man who was a child’s mother hadn’t come back. The child asked his grandmother where was his mother. The grandmother told the child as it was.
“Your mother won’t be coming back home son, you will live here with me and the boy”
The boy cried many tears. He had his second lesson in love and how love could become undone once more.
His grandmother and grandfather loved the child. They loved him, adored him and treated the child like their own son. The child who had become a boy felt the love yet still felt the huge gap left by his other and his father.
One day when the boy had reached fifteens years of age there was a knock at the door of his grandmothers home. The door opened and it was the boys mother. The woman cried, said sorry and told the boy how much she loved him. The boy wanted his grandmother yet the boys other wanted her son back. Eventually as things go the boy returned to a new home with his mother. She loved the boy yet the boy couldn’t love her.
In the meantime the grandmother who the boy loved passed away. The boy was saddened to the very depth of his core. Then the boys grandfather passed. He was 97-years old yet the passing and love he felt from both his grandparents was a gap that could never be filled. The boy cried for weeks. His mother would hold him yet he felt nothing for the woman that vanished for 11-years and then came back as if those years had never past.
One day when the child who became a boy had grown into a young man was walking down the street two men approached him. One man called him by his name. The young man who was now handsome and tall with black combed back hair stopped to speak to the man the had called him. The man said this.
“John meet your father”
The man then casually introduced himself and offered to shake Johns hand. John had been given an upbringing where manners were paramount so he shook the stranger who was his fathers hand. Then they all parted in different directions. After the young man had finished his work he then walked back to his mothers house. He felt no love for his mother but was happy to live with his mother for now.
Once home he walked into the house. Once in the house he could hear a conversation which was unusual as his other would usually be alone. When he walked into the room his mother was sitting across the table from his father. His other said this.
John your father has come to live with us so we can be a happy family once again. John who was now a full grown man said nothing. His way was not destruction and certainly wasn’t the way they had lived. He also knew that this family couldn’t never be his family as his family could only be created as he grew. The only family he knew and loved as he grew had been his loving and caring grandparents that he missed so much.
One week later the man that never loved left the home of his parents that he never accepted as his parents so he could create a life of his own. He tried to love and failed. He longed for love and failed. He wanted to love and failed. Eventually he found a woman that he wanted to love for she loved him. He said he loved her but never really showed any sings of love. They got married, had children and did what married adults with children do but love was still the elusive secret that he could never find.
He knew that. His wife knew that. They both lived their life in love without love. She loved what she could love but he kept the distance of love from all people and all things.
One day he had a phone call. It was his very old mother. She told him his father was gravely ill and would die at any time. The man that couldn’t love really didn’t want to see him yet his grandmother had given him a deep sense of manners and honor. He decided it would be best if he went to see this old man on his death bed that was his father, that had left him all of his young life and had walked back into his life once he felt ready to settle.
The man that couldn’t love walked into the hospital room. It was dark but warm. The old body of the old man lay on the bed close to the end of his days. His eyes were closed. John stood next to the bed with his wife standing just behind him. He could feel she was there yet she wasn’t touching him. He stared at the face of the old man. No tears, no emotions from the man that couldn’t love. Until that is the eyes of the old man opened.
‘Son is that you?’
The man was shocked, it was his father but he resented replying to the question, as he never felt like the old man’s son. He felt nothing for the old man apart from he knew that this was his father.
“Yes father it is me”
“Hold my hand son and come close”
The man that couldn’t love held the old mans hand and put his head close to his.
The old man spoke.
“Son my days are closed. Never forget I love you but I did wrong. Never forget I left you but never wanted to. Never forget the day you entered into this world was the greatest moment of my life. I was wrong, I was drunk on nothing and attracted to nothing. I ran and left you alone. I do not deserve to be called father by anyone yet I am your father. Do not do what I did to you. Do not leave like I left you. If you can forgive me will you? If you can ask God to forgive me will you? If you can hold my hand tight until my final moment will you? Forgive me son forgive me please forgive me”
And with one final word and one final squeeze of his hand and one final breath the old man passed from this life to another life that no living man can ever know.
From that day the man that couldn’t love started to love. He had learnt his lessons that love can come, love can go, love can arrive and live can vanish into the night but the moment before death is the final opportunity to love. It had taken a life to lern this yet it had also taken a death to learn that the man that couldn’t love finally understood how to love.
He lived a long, happy and filled life loving everyone that came into his life.
15062017AFS – SHORT STORY