quick fiction

The Winter Gathering

We gathered around the crackling fire reminiscing of times past. Brad was missing from the group of course, but nobody mentioned Brad anymore.

Instead of coffee or hot chocolate, Brenda, with her health kick, had decided to serve them warm Blackberry juice. It was a welcome change to milk based drinks. Henry’s wife always served Honey in warm milk. But then Sharon wasn’t here either was she.

The eucalypt smoke whirled up the chimney, but some of the aromas escaped the flue and ruminated around the room. It made eyes water and noses sniff, but it was pleasant and warm in the little chalet.

Henry was trying hard to bring up memories to share with this close group of friends. But every time he thought of something to share, he recalled it included Sharon, which made his eyes fill with tears, or Brad and it made his head fill with rage.

It was hard being around this group of friends and not think of the two. Henry rose from  armchair, and all chatter ceased. He placed his cup on the coaster provided, and turned and walked from the room.

“Henry,” I quietly called, but he ignored me.

He walked towards the door, opened it and stepped outside. Some snow swept in on the icy wind. We let him go though. Soon Charlie would follow him with a jacket. But for now, we just let him go.

“He still hasn’t got over her death has he”. Bobby said.

“Well, would you?” Megan bit back. “I feel guilty just for being here”.

“it’s not your fault” Brenda said ” you shouldn’t have to feel guilty for marrying that bastard. you didn’t know he was screwing her, and you certainly didn’t know he would kill her”. “you are as much a part of this group as Henry.”

We heard Henry roar forth his grief from under the pine tree. It echoed around the snow filled valley. We should never have come back. Yes, it was tradition, but this is one tradition that should have been broken after past events.

This will be the last time we gather as a group. I think that is a good thing. Nothing good can come out of us gathering again.

“Brenda, I think it would be best if we go.” suggested Bobby. Brenda nodded. She quickly gathered the bags and put them in the car. Bobby wheeled over to the sink and washed the cups, leaving them on the side.

“Talk soon” he added as he pushed his chair out to the car.

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