(Note: This is an entry for July’s short story challenge on the forums. The theme is: “I open with the close”. (Start and end the short story with the same sentence))
“It’s only for a little while.”
Shark detested those words with a passion. After all, the last time he’d heard them, it was during the car ride that brought him to the psych ward.
Once they had arrived there, it then became utter hell for everyone involved. Shark pleaded with his father not to let them take him away, and Dennis just stood and watched with a pained look on his face. It was hard for both father and son.
According to the doctor, he was unruly even by that psych ward’s standards. It probably wasn’t every day six doctors needed to restrain a man with the physique of a football player.
Needless to say, Shark couldn’t be happier when he was finally brought home. He was just so happy to be back in Twinbrook, even if it smelled perpetually of stagnant urine and dead people.
Right now, he was trying to amuse himself by spending time at the park. His father went to Blaise’s house to discuss wedding arrangements; and Sagebear, that lovable pooch, was at the groomers.
Only one person wasn’t there anymore, and for that, Shark blamed himself. He had been the one who threw him out, after all.
Gone were the days that started with Sinbad making breakfast in the mornings. He always made it so well, and Shark often looked forward to breakfast in bed.
Well, he enjoyed both the breakfast and the cuddling that followed. He could never decide which was sweeter: The brown sugar in his oatmeal, or the kisses that got planted on his cheek.
And even when he didn’t have it in bed, he still loved waking up to the smells of blueberry muffins.
It was all an absolute joy back then, and Shark foolishly brought it to an end.
He just couldn’t fathom that both his father and his now ex-fiance had once been criminals. They had their reasons for keeping it secret from him, and they were genuinely trying to turn their lives around, but he just couldn’t accept the truth at first.
Shark had been able to reconcile with his father after a while, and of course the two became close again.
But it was too late to make amends with Sinbad. By the time Shark learned of Sinbad’s new residence, he was already gone.
Shark had been inconsolable then. And his actions that followed were what sent him to the nuthouse in the first place.
It had been a few months since then. Things were getting a little better, at least.
Now, Shark decided it was the best time to head home. Even though he didn’t wear a watch anymore, he deduced that it was getting close to lunchtime.
That, and he was pretty sure there was a homeless person behind him pissing in the park fountain.
After taking the short walk back to the house, Shark was pleasantly surprised to see his father home earlier than expected.
Dennis was at work making mac and cheese for the both of them. The TV was on, as it usually was, with an episode of Sons of Anarchy playing on Netflix.
“How was spending time with Blaise?”
“Eh?” Dennis seemed a bit too absorbed in his task at first, to notice his son was there. “Oh! Wonderful! Hopefully in the next week or so, you and I can go get fitted for tuxedos!”
He then mixed up the ingredients on hand into a pot while Shark watched him.
“That’s great, Dad,” he said before he changed the subject. “Uh…Still no Sagebear?”
“The groomer said she’d be done by two. I’ll pick her up then.” Talking about Sagebear was always at least nice for the two of them.
Even though Sagebear had a habit of rolling in mud puddles and stealing their shoes, Dennis and Shark were all too happy to give her treats and belly rubs.
“You need any help, Dad?” Shark then offered to his father.
“Nah, I got it, boy,” Dennis said to him before turning to the stove. “How ‘bout you go do something else while I’m getting this ready?”
With that, Shark was en route to his bedroom.
The small, cramped room always looked dreary and bare, no matter how many times Shark was in it.
He’d only taken it so that Dennis and Blaise could have their own room once they got married. He at least hadn’t yet succumbed to an untimely death like the previous occupant, his sister Lolly.
Turning his head to look at the nightstand, Shark caught sight of a little music box in front of the happy flower lights, and approached it.
Blaise had given it to him as a gift, after he’d come home from the psych ward. She’d apologized for the garish box design, but Shark saw no problem with that.
After he’d wound it up and let it play the first time, he immediately recognized the song from one of his favorite video game series. Apparently, Alma had had a hand in crafting this little gift.
Each time he’d opened it, the pretty little melody would play for however long he wound it up for. It almost seemed a coincidence the song that played was “Dearly Beloved”. Whenever he felt down nowadays, Shark would play it to try and cheer himself up.
Right now, however, it just didn’t feel like a good time for some reason.
It wasn’t like he wasn’t going to at some point today. Instead, Shark just tried to occupy himself with thoughts of future events.
“Maybe it’d be a good idea to take a break from it,” he said out loud to himself. “This way I don’t ruin it somehow. It’s not like I’ll never play it again.”
A few minutes later, Shark heard Dennis calling for him to get lunch. Before he left, he kept thinking to himself:
“Things will probably get better tomorrow.”
“I can always play it again later. I’m not leaving it there forever.”
“It’s only for a little while.”
(Total word count: 1005, according to the Word Counter I used)
(song that the chapter title comes from, which is appropriately enough a music box version of it: )