Setting the sun...

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Crowds: Mr. Tang Part Four

Hello there Knight Life readers! I hope you are all well ^_^. Please enjoy the next instalment in Mr. Tang’s story. I simply enjoyed exploring this character through my writing and I’m so honoured that you are here reading!

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His eyes seemed to lose a bit of their sparkle as he came to the realization his wife was no longer with him. The agony was like a savage beast that had entered at his heart and begun tearing away at the comfort and warmth that Mae provided him. In a blink of an eye the smell of her light clean and floral perfume had swept into the breeze. The taste that her kiss had left on his lips had vanished and the feeling of her delicate fingers in his was nothing but air passing in-between his palms.
The truth was a sobering discovery. His wife has passed away two years ago and since then he had been showing signs of early on-set dementia. Grief was an infection that was too hard to bear with, a bacteria where forgetting could be the only cure. Unwanted connections lit up in his brain like circuits on a switchboard. Memories surfaced of the news that she gave him over a cup of tea at home, the hours of crying when they had to deliver the news to their children. The endless hours he had spent with her by her side during her chemotherapy, refusing to leave even when he desperately needed the bathroom or a moments rest. His mind found the faces of those who helped her, the lovely nurse in the cancer ward who would put fresh flowers in her room, or pull a blanket over him when he passed out beside her, holding her hand in hope that he could pull her out of her disease.
He remembered the dark and desperate moment the morning she passed away. Their children and their partners were gathered in a private room that they had moved her too. Her breaths had become shallow and her mind had retreated into unconsciousness. Soft sobbing turned into mournful howling as he pleaded for death not to take her. The mother of his children, his best friend, his kitchen dancing partner, his baker, his life’s love. His pleading turned from whispered breaths to loud gasps when her breathing had ended. A numbing coldness injected through the air like toxic ink. His children wrapped around him as he felt her body go cold and her soul depart.
It was too much for him. It was the single most painful thing that he had ever had to endure. If it weren’t for his children he wouldn’t be alive; his children were the single reason he was still breathing. The heartache from Mae’s death then affected Mr. Tang in the most alarming way as he slowly began to forget that it happened. At first it started small, he’d forgotten the time or what day it was. Then the forgotten days became forgotten weeks and years. His brain removed the sorrow. However, there were moments like these where the truth hit him like an icy syringe injecting uncensored reality into his mind.
So, with re-lived memories surfacing to what was an unforgotten shore, he begun talking aloud to his wife’s grave. It begun with the discussion of how hurt he was by her absence, and continued to grow from there. For hours he sat, imaging her responses, her remarks and insightful comments, all while taking small bites of her carrot cake. Crumbs would fall from her lips as she’d laugh at a joke, and her face would tense when he spoke seriously. He told her what had happened on every day that he could remember, every update and new piece of news that his brain could recollect.
The late morning turned into afternoon, and after hours and hours his mind began to slip back into its abyss of the unknown. Like the sun making its way across the sky, memories of his wife passing begun to fade. Then, in the distance, Mr. Tang heard a car door slam and someone running up to him.
“Dad?” they called out in Vietnamese.
His daughter, Julie, dropped beside him and put a hand to his head. “Dad, we’ve been looking for you all day.”
“I was just with your Mum,” he replied as one last tear slipped down his cheek, the final memory of her death temporarily leaving him. “I think she wants to go home now.”
Julie’s eyes tensed and she put her hands into his. “C’mon Dad, let’s go home. Everyone’s waiting.”
“For?” He looked up.
“For you, and Mum,” Julie explained. “Now let’s go, shall we?”
He stared ahead of him for a moment and watched his wife nod before nodding himself. With Julie’s help he stood up and headed to her car with his little yellow balloon bobbling long after him.


  • Mr. Tangs’s story concludes next week [MON/OCT/26].
  • This narrative was edited by my wonderful editor: Kayla Marie Murphy. Contact: kaylamariemurphy@hotmail.com for any inquiries.
  • Creative Credit for Mr. Tangs’s image goes to the wonderful and supremely talented Jinny Park, whose Instagram feed you can check out at: http://www.instagram.com/somethingpeach. Thank you so much Jinny for this wonderful collaboration!
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