Short Story Fiction
Arizona Sundown
Scott A. Gese

He knew his days in this life were running short. It was time to relax and enjoy the moment.

Dawson Avery sat quietly on the old wood porch. He scanned the horizon across the wide open expanse of Arizona desert. There wasn’t much to see. Cactus that never moved and a lone jackrabbit scampering from one clump of sage to another.

Arizona SundownDarryl Brian/Unsplash

The sun was high and the day was hot. Heat was never an issue with Dawson. He was an Arizona native and loved the heat. Always had.

A tall glass of ice water sat on a small stand next to his chair. The ice was long gone, but the water was still refreshing.

The porch offered a cover from the direct sun, but the heat was making him drowsy. That was okay with Dawson. There wasn’t much else to do these days. Seems eating and sleeping was what his eighty-eight years of living had finally boiled down to.

As much as he would have liked to make time stand still, he couldn’t. It was always going forward. Always on the move and up to this point, had always outpaced him. As he grew older, life seemed to be slowing down. Dawson knew the day would come when he would not only catch it, he would leave it behind.

In between eating and sleeping, Dawson sat on the porch where he did some light reading and thought mainly about life. He had come to the conclusion that life was like a parade. You were either a spectator, sitting on the curb watching it pass by, or you were a participant. If you were the watching type, you might get lucky enough to have a piece or two of sweet candy tossed into your lap by the participators passing by.

As a participant. You were involved in life. Not content to sit and watch it pass you by. You were out in the street marching and waving. You had the candy. Bags of it. You were the one throwing a small taste to the watchers. Getting them all riled up and wanting more. Thing is, you knew full well most would go right back to sitting on the curb as soon as you passed by.

Dawson was a participant. This was the way he had lived his life. He participated in it. He was a doer. Never content to sit on the curb. Life was too damn interesting for that.

These days, the doing part of his life was winding down. It was setting like the Arizona sun. A sun that shown bright most of the day, but late afternoon would soon give way to the deep reds and golds of the evening and then drop below the horizon where the afterglow would slowly fade and give way to the moon and stars.

For now Dawson was content to sit and watch the slow procession as it moved across the sky. The active part of his life had come and gone. He was now a spectator. A watcher. Content and grateful for what he had been given. Happy about what he had accomplished with his life.

Now was the time to enjoy the moment. Sundown would come soon enough.

As he reached out for his glass of water, he couldn’t help but notice his hand. The hand of his youth was nowhere to be found. The meaty fingers and strong grip had given way to thin and bony digits with arthritic knuckles and tendinitis. Most likely the results of his fifty years of swinging a hammer. He build one home a year. He still owned half of them.

The dull blue veins on the back of his hand stood out. They reminded him of the highways on an old road map. Much like the ones he used to get for free from any local filling station when he was much younger.

Those days had come and gone. His hands were a stark reminder that his time for this world was short and like the road maps of his youth, he would soon be doing the same.

His future showed little promise and his past was fading fast. He didn’t dwell on it. Thinking on either one for too long was a worthless endeavor and would keep him from enjoying his remaining moments.

The warm Arizona sun soothing his weary bones was all he really cared about these days.

That and a good nap.

© Copyright 2023 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved.

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