And That's It
Stewart Joyce

And you’re the King, pulled in front of your people, who’ve decided they’re no longer your people. The sun is bright, and you crane your neck up, thinking it’s the last time you see it, the last thing you use your neck for. They lead you up the steps and you see the whole square rise up in disgust. You don’t bother to ask why. What do you say if they let you speak? “I’m sorry”? “I ruled only as I knew how”? “It was not my reign that was lacking, but your servitude”? Or just stand silent, stone-faced and accepting, jaw clenched, tears useless at this point. The last thing you see is the sky turn to the ground and that’s it.

And you’re the captain, serving your duty as the last man off a sinking ship. A Gawd foresaken trawler in a storm nobody saw coming. You’re taking on water and can’t see anything but the light from the other ship and the rope thrown from one to the other, you holding on for dear life halfway between them. You’re the last one off, the sinking ship on one end and your crew and salvation on the other. And the waves, rocking the whole time, finally swing up and roll your salvation right at you, the space closing between the old and the new. So you look up and see the moon for the first time tonight and the last time in your life. Your last thoughts, right before the two ships come together, is that it’s probably better this way. After all, nobody can stand a captain without a ship. But still, every one of those bastards over there better name their next born son after you. And that’s it.

And you’re alone, an old man waking up in your favourite chair again. You forget when you fell asleep. The television is still on to her favourite channel, you fell asleep watching it again, even though it’s been years since she was here to watch it. It’s fuzzy now, and you turn to check the clock. Before you can make out the time, though, it hits you, right in the heart. First confusion, then panic, and you go reaching for the phone, trying to make the last call of your life. At that moment, you realize the last person you talked to was your son, and you’d both been crying, talking about her, even though she’d been gone for years now. You can’t reach the phone, and suddenly you’re on the floor, wondering if it’s a cliché to call this ‘keeling over’. You turn your head to the window, and the last thing you see is the sun coming up over the harbour, bright and clear and full of purpose. The last thing you think is that there sure are some things you wish you could change, but it turned out pretty good, if you do say so yourself. And that’s it.

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