Father’s Day (Flash Fiction)

They slammed their thick glasses onto the tequila soaked table and laughed. They laughed hysterically, drawing smiled looks from the thinning crowd around them. Bob felt his head float atop his neck. He flipped his phone to check the time, but only blurry blue digits looked back.

The laughter across from him was cut off by a fierce snort followed by heavy coughing. Bob laughed again. It made his head pound, but the joy in his heart superseded the pain. The man swayed in his chair, slapping a strong hand against his chest. As he regained his composure, Bob saw his eyes drift upwards to the corner of the room. The smile faded. An empty look took to his eyes.

“Why do they keep showing that? It happened weeks ago!”

Bob turned to see for himself, already knowing what would be on the screen. It was all his life had become. Talking heads in front of flaming wreckage, feigned sympathy in exchange for shameless voyeurism. He looked back to see the other half of his recent life. The eyes of his father welling with tears and anxious fingers rolling an aged gold wedding band.

“Cab’s here, hun,” said the waitress in passing.

“Thanks,” said Bob. “Come on, Dad.” He hauled the heavy man from his chair, throwing an arm over his shoulder. Together they weaved their way out into the street.

“I miss her. It’s gonna be hard to let her go.”

“I know, Dad. It’s okay.”

“Thanks for this. I needed it,” said the man, rolling the band on his finger.

“We both did.”

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