Saturday, May 2, 2009

Novak Nohtche (Part 3)

This is the third of five parts of my short story Novak Nohtche.

"To whom can I tell my grief?"

Having just closed the door, Novak looked at the cab driver looked through the rearview mirror. "Make a u-turn, then turn left."

The cab began to move, forward for a ways until there was space to turn around. Novak looked around, trying to find her, but couldn't see her as of yet.

"My son died this week." The driver stopped at the light, signaling a left turn.

"There's a woman, I was supposed to meet her. She's all in white." Novak said. As the cab moved around the corner, Novak could see her several blocks ahead.

"It was some sort of fever, they said. He was in the hospital for three days, and then he just...just died." There was a small accident ahead, so the driver slowed down, and merged left.

"I've watched her for weeks. I have to meet her. It's fate." Novak started tapping his foot nervously. He could see her gain distance while the cab crawled past a fender bender.

"Can you believe it? My son is dead, yet here I am alive. Death has come to the wrong door." The driver sped up as they passed the obstruction.

"There she is," Novak said in a hushed tone. Two blocks ahead, she turned a corner and disappeared.

"Death should have come for me. It's not right. Do you think so?" The driver moved back into the right lane.

"Right!" Novak said, as they came up to the corner she had disappeared around.

"How can you say that?" The driver asked, looked at Novak through the mirror. "A man should not die before his son."

"What are you doing?" Novak watched, gape mouthed, as the taxi sped through the intersection and away.

"My son, he was a real cab driver. I'm too old to drive."

"Can you stop?" Novak asked.

"I haven't even earned enough for gas." The driver shook his head. "He was three days in the hospital before he died. Can you even imagine?"

"Can you go back?" Novak asked.

"There's nothing left to go back to. You would know this if your child had died." The driver stopped the car at the side of the road and began to cry in thick, despairing sobs. "Then you would know grief."

Novak stepped out, moved quickly, uneasily, away from the taxi.

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