The Golden Years

David Harmond had, for the entirety of his life, done everything by the book. He’d found a job at 15 working at a plant managed by his father. He’d bided his time and slowly risen through the ranks to become a well-respected individual on whom many depended. He’d acquired assets, stocks, shares. Saved. Paid close attention to his health.

Every morning at 5 he woke to run and exercise. He counted his fluid intake. Monitored his blood pressure and  cholesterol. He’d started an organic garden and ate healthy every day. His green thumb was world renowned–at least in his little town. During harvest time he’d have so much fresh fruit and veggies he’d share them with his neighbours and friends.

And now, at the age of 59, he’d reluctantly relinquished his position to someone with a younger face and fresher ideas.

Mr. Harmond loved his two bedroom ranch of which he’d shared for ten years now with a green-eyed tabby he lovingly called Satan. Though, not because she was cruel and inconsiderate and sometimes even vicious–all of which were but a few of her most endearing qualities–but because he’d found the feral beast in a box in an alley in Hell, Michigan.

When someone suggested he move into a ‘special’ community, he’d scoffed. He didn’t need help getting around. He was strong, spry. His bones were tough, his joints well-oiled. His body was like a machine in the prime of its life.  ‘Not for the assistance,’ they’d told him, ‘but for the relationships.’

‘Relationships?’ he’d wondered. Had that ever been a concern of his? Work and save had been his motto. Staying fit and healthy had been his only goal. All for the sake of enjoying his Golden years.

Glancing around his sparsely decorated home, Satan crouched warily beneath the couch, curled into a ball of mismatched fur, Mr. Harmond wondered if he’d missed a step somewhere along the way.

In his bid to ensure the success of his Golden years, could he have failed to see that the best part of living was sharing. ‘But, of course,’ he realized, ‘there was Satan.’

‘C’mere, Kitty,’ Mr. Harmond crooned, crouching down, his sturdy knees keeping him perfectly balanced as he beckoned to the beast. “Come to Daddy.’

Satan crawled timidly forward, her tail crooked at the end, gently swishing back and forth. The animal purred as she brushed against his outstretched fingers, bits of fur immediately coming loose and clinging to the black fabric of his slacks.

‘Good girl,’ Mr. Harmond smiled, running his hands against her smooth, shiny coat. There was no need to ask questions now. He’d done everything perfectly. He’d never wanted anything then and he didn’t need anything now. His meticulously planned life was just as it should be.

Mr. Harmond took one last cursory glance around his home. The 70”, his comfy sofa and overstuffed armchair. His plants were carefully tended and meticulously pruned. His home was clean and spacious. Everything he could need he had.

Yes, Mr. Harmond had succeeded in ensuring the success of his Golden years.

‘Isn’t that right, Satan.’ The cat raised her chin, her tail whipping around his calf, as she continued to purr.

Yes. It was all perfect. And, of course he wasn’t alone. He had Satan after all.

Satan, without preamble, unfurled her claws and dug them into his wrist, her curved, sharp teeth digging into his index finger just as he’d tried to rub her jaw. With a deep yowl the cat darted away, squeezing through the cracked bedroom door.

Well, at least he had his health.





14 Comments Add yours

  1. Caillen, this is a lovely, well conceived story about isolation and loneliness. I think it would read better if you don’t write it in past perfect. Suppose, for the entirety of his life he did everything by the book. He found a job, he bided, he acquired and so on. Would it be more active?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. caillenjames says:

      I’ll take that under consideration next time; thank you for the recommendation. I typically write in past tense; switching it up, I think, would be a fun challenge.
      As always Dermott, thank you for taking the time to read and write such a thoughtful comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s not past tense though, it’s past perfect. The dog had jumped over the moon or The dog jumped over the moon.?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. caillenjames says:

        I see. Thank you for the lesson Dermott.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Caillen, I’m always nervous about making such comments but it’s just an opinion, you can take or leave. I don’t mean to offend you.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. caillenjames says:

        Please don’t take it that way. I really quite enjoy the lesson. I am a very sarcastic person but for once I was being sincere. I appreciate the feedback and criticisms from people who read what I write. If people aren’t honest about the mistakes they make and the mistakes they see in others, how will anyone ever learn or get better. If we’re too afraid of being offensive to speak our minds how will we ever share our truths and experiences. (Those were rhetorical so I didn’t put question marks). I appreciate you taking the time to read and give me your honest opinion.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Thank you, Caillen, I’ve become circumspect about offering my opinion recently, having had a few bad reactions. And that’s a sad thing to say. I posted a blog last month called Embrace Criticism and Learn.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. caillenjames says:

        I think that is a good thing to strive for–accepting criticism. I’ll be sure to check out your post. Don’t let the bad reactions of the few stop you from being honest. I think, as long as it’s done in kindness, it should be received with positivity and openness.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. My thoughts entirely. I spent a dozen years as a critic of books, theatre and music. I never saw any value in being negative but always tried to be honest.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. caillenjames says:

        I think the world would be a much nicer place with fewer Simon Cowells.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Well if you call your cat Satan he’s bound to let you down! Entertaining story, I enjoyed. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. caillenjames says:

      I met a cat once named Bastard. Despite his namesake, he was a sweet and friendly feline. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I’m glad you liked it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lol! Glad the cat rose above his namesake.

        Liked by 1 person

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