The sun rose and moved in onto the fairway as Paul awoke very thirsty and dizzy. He made his way to the kitchen for a glass of water and some Naproxen that helped him deal with the pain and fatigue of rheumatoid arthritis. For more than a year Paul had spent every available moment on the golf course. The rest of his life was spent but asleep and forgetting about his nasty divorce. He was not a very well read man and there was absolutely no possibility of him doing or saying anything brilliant or poetic. As a child he had zero interest in sports and was never picked for any teams in gym class, but when he hit fifty with high blood pressure and a beer gut the size of Buddha, his doctor insisted he become more physically active. Paul decided to take up the sport that required the least amount of physical exertion, golf.
Paul bounded upstairs to the bathroom. He thought about shaving and stood in front of his mirror for quite some time listening to the sound of the electric razor. It reminded him of the baby monitor he had brought for his son. The memories were more than he could bear so he shut the thing off and went into the shower where he scrubbed up with the ill-smelling soap he hated from the dollar store. Feeling the cool air from an open window Paul quickly rinsed and dried off before darting down the hall. He looked into Tommy's room for no reason. Tommy wasn't there. He had not been there in his nursery for twenty years. Paul wanted to go to bed. He wanted to go to bed so he could live inside his head but instead he found himself back in his own room, putting on his Bermuda shorts and t-shirt. A physical exhaustion haunted his body and seemed to reach into his soul.
The tops of trees were quivering with the new life of spring and the smell of incoming rain was in the air. There were patches of blue popping up here and there through the clouds as Paul left the house with golf bag slung over one shoulder, dragging footprints that darkened the moist grass of his front lawn. His skin was fair and his face, calm even though his wrinkles spoke of repression and deep sadness. There was no one to live life for; so Paul decided to live life for himself. Once he reached the golf course he felt alive again. Three distinct 18-hole layouts, enhanced by the surrounding mountains, lakes and tree-lined fairways gave him a sense of adrenaline. He could feel his pulse beating faster and faster as the coursing blood warmed and relaxed his aging body. He mumbled under his breath: "free, free, free!"
The golf course was all but empty so he didn't have to join any of those annoying groups they usually paired him up with. Today he could golf alone. He felt so invigorated that he decided not to use the golf cart, opting to walk around all eighteen holes. By the time he reached the thirteenth hole it had started to rain and he felt a sharp pain in his chest from lugging around the golf clubs, but Paul looked up at the illumination of the sky and spread his arms out to welcome the downpour. "Free! Body and soul free!" he kept saying. As Paul turned he caught a glimpse of a young man walking over the hill behind him. Paul had a sickening feeling like he was going to cry, that he was just going to lose it, when his eyes met those of the young man. Beautiful purple flowers emerged from the grass blanketing the golf course.
"They're called Bláthanna Corcora," the young man said. "They are found mostly in Ireland."
"God puts spirit in all things," the young man went on to say before he fell silent.
"Are you an angel?" Paul asked.
"No, I'm not an angel," the young man replied. "I'm a simple man whose father once told him he loved him very much."
"Tommy? Son! You were just but an infant when I told you that. How did you? Are we?
"Language remembers, dad. Out of obscurity, words take their place in history and leave an imprint."
The body of Paul Milford was found at the Van Cortlandt golf course on Sunday June 29th at 9:00 am, an apparent victim of a heart attack.
Copyright: © 2009 Theresa C. Newbill
Theresa C. Newbill is a is a self described free spirit and former elementary school teacher turned writer. Her work has been widely published in various print and online magazines and she has received numerous awards for her writing.