Saturday, August 11, 2007

Daedalus

He blames himself. It was his idea to teach the boy to drive. He figured it was time the boy started to help around the garage a little, learn the business. Besides, he was almost of age, almost 16. It would do no harm.

He can't understand where it all went wrong. He taught that boy so carefully, patiently. Taught him everything he knew. And the boy too, always cautious, always listening, never seeming to be in a hurry. And then, the day after he got his license, the first time they let him take the car out alone, the accident. Speeding through a red light at 90, the police told him later. And all he could ask was, "Why?"

What did he do wrong? What did he forget? Was it just the long ago excitement of being behind that wheel, feeling the roar of the engine become a part of you, the power of it yours to command? Or was it something else - some instruction, some caution - that he never gave the boy?

The day of his son's funeral Daedalus stays at home, unable to face his wife's crying or the blank accusations he reads in the faces of his friends. Instead he goes down to the garage, starts to tinker with the wrecked body of the car they have towed back to him. They say it's a write-off, but he, master mechanic, knows better. As they lower his son into the earth, he starts putting it back together, replacing what is broken, trying to determine what has been lost.

3 comments:

Raoul said...

This is brilliant. It really is.

Revealed said...

Nice.

The Peripherally Blind said...

Falstaff, I love it. Not to sound nitpicky or anything, but I cant shake the feeling that this piece might have been a notch (just a notch, mind you!) better if you had omitted the name of the father and just titled the story "Daedalus". When the reader is given the chance to make the connection, its a tad more rewarding...yes?
(just now reading thro some of ur older stuff!)