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Flash Fiction: Gnarled
R. Vacknitz 2011

White bony knuckles protruded his paper thin skin, speckled with age spots; over sized, under used. His fingers curled in a grotesque entanglement, gnarled from knuckle to knuckle. He sits in his chair, sun breaking through the clouds, shattering into a million through the drops of rain splattered on his window. His eyes transfixed on nowhere. He listens to the beauty composed from the guitar across from him. His old, wooden guitar. He would loved to believe he has aged, as the guitar had, to perfection… but he knew he was beyond repair.

He had his fair share of curves cut just right. His hands felt the silky smooth exterior of many a creature. His fingers played many heart strings, wooing them to and fro. But in all his memory, the only love making his hands could only recall was the silky smooth, curved body of his guitar; the rest to him were just notches on his bed post.

He listened to the sound of the strings vibrate. He heard the vibrato of the sultry bass being played as it brought him back to a time when he could hold the guitar, and play her with his own two. His eyes diverted from the window to the guitar across from him. He starred at the warm wooden body, silver accents, and the strings. His fingers twitched in place as he mentally played chords from various songs. His mind recounted the beats, and his body responded as if he were on stage again. He was now, a lot like his guitar, a hollow shell with a vibrant soul inside. His eyes met his grandson’s eyes, who in turn nodded as his grandfather.

I know gramps, I know.” he said to his grandad in a soft sing song voice. “I know it takes everything in you to listen, but not play. You taught me well old man, you taught us both well.” His grandson hung his head, still playing a the soft, haunting song his grandfather wrote many years ago. “I wish you could sing along with me, gramps. I hate that you’re stuck in there, with only your eyes giving you life.”

His grandfather tried to nod in return, he had heard and felt everything his grandson was saying. A tear rolled down his cheek as the only response he could reciprocate.

“I will be here with you until the end, old man. I will be here.”

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