Stroke and touch and go

This piece was written for the Six Sentence Challenge, with the prompt word of ‘stroke’.

Ever since Bruce had his stroke, he doesn’t do much more than sit on his front veranda and, with his good hand, knuckle the head of his arthritic companion, a German Shepherd called Arfer, although these days the best that Bruce can manage is Ar’er but Arfer knows what he means.

Bruce can still shuffle-walk and dress and he prides himself on cleanly, if awkwardly, shaving each day with his safety razor, taking care to leave the electric one his daughter gave him on display in his bathroom, and being especially careful of nicks on the days she visits.

He looks at his now dead but once prized front lawn (groomed obsessively with his old Victa mower that he never saw any need to replace), where the children would play under the sprinkler in the summertime and where his son was once convinced he’d stood on a bee, creating drama until ice-cream was produced for distraction and the bindii prickle removed.

Every day his seemingly semi-comatose fat teenage grandson (named Jaxxon by his pea-brained parents,) the one with the tattoos and the safety pin through his eyebrow, arrives en route to the shops, never once lifting his eyes from his screen, even as he mumbles ‘Sup, Gramps’. He takes Arfer as his token protection, because his bark is still enough to scare away God-botherers and dodgy roof repair salesmen from Bruce and neighbourhood bullies from the boy.

The one thing Bruce looks forward to is the days that the aged care agency send their revolving door of male/female/gay/straight/non-binary shower people, not because he ever feels particularly unclean (he is obsessive with his wiping, if nothing else) but because it’s the only time anyone gently touches his skin since his wife went to Heaven without him.

37 thoughts on “Stroke and touch and go

  1. A scalpel of Socratic precision in an anatomy lesson of a soul,this stroke is.
    At the end of the chain lies also the theft of legaly choosing an exit way, how and when, as true as it can be to a human’s dignity.
    (The anagram…brilliant mate!😎)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. “…taking care to leave the electric one his daughter gave him on display in his bathroom, and being especially careful of nicks on the days she visits.

    Such an excellent touch! This half sentence provides we Readers with a full sense of the man that was…

    and a GSD! (Dogs are perfect lifeforms.)

    Liked by 3 people

  3. As Uncle Bobby says, Just Like a Woman to go off to heaven without him.
    Love the pooch, I knew one like that, headed off to the Big Sky Kennel last year, muchly missed.
    And I hadn’t realised Aussies did soft quite so well…

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Awwwww. This is a very touching story so well woven, Doug. The fear of all who are beginning to realize that age is creeping up. Having kids is no guarantee that you have someone to care, is it? I always worried that because I had no children, there wouldn’t be someone there for me if I reached this stage in life. Bruce got there and having kids and grandkids didn’t insure any companionship at all, let alone touching. Great story. Hope it never comes true for you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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