White Walls

The house was falling apart. Chipped paint, roof shingles needing replaced, a screen door with a tear in it, and with each year new problems; busted pipes, floors damaged, the old man was not up to the task.

He sat all day and night in his recliner, haunted by pictures on the cracked white walls. These were photographs of his wife, a daughter that lived out in California, and friends throughout the years. The old man took the photos himself. He used to walk around with a camera, shot in black and white, took it everywhere, vacations, volleyball games, church gatherings, he was so active back then. Now he just sat in the living room waiting to die.

Occasionally he’d kiss the pictures, lightly touching them with his thin lips. Telling them all how much he missed them. And, there were pictures tucked away in his safe that he’d forgotten the combination to. These were pictures of an old flame, a mistress who he had carried on with for a short while during his marriage.

His wife found out about the affair by running across the photos and hotel receipts, letters back and forth. She begged him to burn them, said he would, he lied. Instead he tucked the black and whites away. The old man locked the safe and had every intention of finding her again some day, renewing their romance at an older age, but, guilt got the best of him.

She never forgave him. Neither one of them did. The mistress felt she was mislead, the wife was humiliated, they kept it a secret, no one said a word.

And now he waits. Alone. Wanting to leave this earth, this ramshackle of a house, and start anew. His sins washed away. Or, maybe there’s a place in Hell for him, he thought. You never stop paying for your sins, the old man whispered. It never stops.

So he kissed his pictures goodbye and took them off the walls. Now the house was blank, bare, and so was he.

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