CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
Word Count: 959
It's your moment of triumph! Where are you and what are you doing?
He sat down at his desk, and ran a hand across it’s smooth surface. He was sitting on his chair, and it felt comfortable. He had unpacked his boxes, and those were his books on the shelves now. The desk would have his name on it, and no longer would he be just a CSI, just a follower of the supervisor. He was the supervisor, and the power of it coursed through his veins like the finest of wines. Ok, so, he wasn’t the highest up on the food chain that was the lab, but he had just gotten one step closer. Soon, he would address his “teammates” as leader, and not as someone, just, by their side, following designated orders. He was boss of his own tiny part of the world, and it was good.
That night, after work, he came home to an empty house, devoid of any life, and yet, it did not make his victory hollow. He invited his aunt over for dinner, and defrosted an extra chicken breast. He cooked a fine meal, and when the woman arrived, he poured her a small glass of wine to eat with her dinner. He gave himself the same amount, a small drink, and definitely not enough to get drunk off, by far. They had the chicken breast, nicely flavoured and done in the frying pan, gravy, and rice. A fancy dinner, but nothing too over the top. They had a bowl of vanilla ice cream for dessert. Nothing too complicated, but still, in the way their shared pride in his achievement hung in the air, it was, celebratory.
He sat and watched television with his aunt, they watched the news together, and before he knew it, before he could stop if or begin to regret it, the words came out of his mouth, haunted with all the years of bad luck and complicated pain.
“It’s too good to be true.” Conrad Ecklie said, shortly, simply, sweetly. Their silence hung with their pride in the air, and his aunt turned to him on the couch his father had been slain on, and smiled comfortingly, her eyes shining, her hair perfectly groomed.
“It is true, though. I saw you smile at dinner Conrad, the way you described, your new responsibilities, abilities, it is true, and I’m very, very proud of you, my boy.” she said, leaning over and hugging him tightly, arms draped awkwardly over his shoulders.
“Synharitiria, o yios moo.” the woman whispered in his ear, her Greek as distinct to him as it had been when she had first begun to teach him the finer ins and outs of the language of his heritage, of his family. It was as distinct to him as the way he felt about his new job, and just as comforting as the new position he had just taken up. Congratulations, my son. She was not one to often call him her son, but after all the decades that had passed by since he had become her child to take care of, he had become, her son, she was, his mother, even if she was his second mother, and could never replace his true one.
As the man finished contemplating her words, his mouth acted with his permission, and he spoke his reply as she leaned back to return to her proper position, settling in to watch the TV before them.
“Efkharisto.” Ecklie whispered back, his eyes glinting a reflected light, the one that was flickering out from the television set. It didn’t, however, mask the significant emotion, that of a contented satisfaction, but immense loss, that also lurked within his look. His aunt picked up on this and took his hand, squeezing it as they listened to the commercials together.
His moment of triumph had been settling into his new office, sitting at his new desk, in his new chair. His moment of triumph continued, as he paid most of his attention to the TV, and, yet, at the same time, categorically picked though the past years, silently, in his mind. Alone, alone, yet, his aunt was the one survivor other than him, the one enduring person in his life, that had not died, had not left him.
“I am going to take a shower Conrad.” the woman said half an hour later, after a short program, some light comedy of passing description.
“I’ll be staying the night. I would like a cup of tea if you are making a pot of boiling water.” she continued, and stood up, moving off to leave him to boil the kettle, to heat the water, to make them drinks of a non-alcoholic kind. The first sentence was an unnecessary string of words that she said out of convention. He had known, since the start of the program, when she had finished whispering to him, and he had finished whispering back, that she would be staying the night. So he got up, and walked the short distance into the kitchen, the knowledge of her overnight presence rich in his head, amongst other things that she had said and done.
She was proud of him. Someone, the only remaining person he knew from his family, was proud of him. That was another, moment of triumph, the most important one, even above his new office, his new desk, chair, responsibilities. While he filled up the kettle and placed it on its stand to heat, even though the man looked mostly sombre faced and lonely, the edges of his lips twitched in a smile, and his eyes sparkled, just slightly with the most responsible, adult like, totally not child like, glee and most immense satisfaction. An expression that no past or present loneliness or sadness could remove.