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Last Day

by eichel davis

His eyes were fixed on the blood colored roses that decorated the space right outside his window. The bundle of pedals blew gently in the wind. Garrett Madison could practically feel the cool January wind on his skin as he closed his eyes, and stared down toward the ground, before turning around. It would be the last time he had one of those moments.

Standing behind his desk, Garrett looked out upon the large oval that sat in front of him. The place was filled with mementos from the last 8 years. From tragedies to world changings, it had all taken place inside that oddly shaped room. After a few more moments, Garrett walked out of his office and into the empty hallways that were around his office. Usually bustling with interns, aides, and servicemen, not a sound echoed off the marble floors.  It was the ghost town Garrett needed for his walk.

Foot in front of foot, he began down the space. It had been a long 8 years for President Madison and his slew of companions. From the end of a new world war, to the start of the new world order, to countless acts of violence and terror,  the country and the world had been few on happy days, on good nights. But even through the dark night, there were a few crevices of hope, a few shining moments, a few green lights on the end of docks.

Garrett was soon thrown out of his thoughts by a pair of footsteps behind him. Quickly turning around, he looked at the man standing in front of him, and smiled passably. The man, dressed in a button down and a blue tie, placed his hands in his pockets, and leaned against the wall.

“What’s on your mind this late at night...Mr. President,” said the man, his voice deep but soft.

Garrett looked over at the picture of John F Kennedy that rested on the wall.

“He tried to stop it,” he said, looking back toward the man.

“Some things are like runaway trains,” he started, “There’s no stopping them.”

Garrett again looked up at the picture.

“One more conversation with him before tomorrow,” asked the man.

“No,” laughed Garrett, “John and I had our last chat earlier today. Hard to believe it, Heath. One last day. Think we did good?”

Heath smiled passably at Garrett.

“I think we did the best we could.”

“Wounds are still fresh. People are still hurting.”

“True. The tolls of war are long. But we helped them get back on track. We picked them up off the ground. History will remember us kindly, my friend. I promise.”

Garrett walked over to Heath, and placed his hand on his shoulder. He looked around the hallway, at all the figures that had sat in his seat many years before him. He looked around at the all moments that were pictured on the walls, all the history, all the days written down on paper.

“Ever think we’d be here 15 years ago,” asked Heath ,”Two kids from the middle of Missouri somehow became the President And Vice President of the United States of America.”

“Some stories are so great, they’re too big for dreams,” replied Garrett.

“Well, it's been my honor to be part of the impossible.”

Heath reared up from off the wall and wrapped his arms tight around Garrett. Since they were 16, the two of them had dreamed of the future, of the next step. When they were 21, they dreamed of small town city councils. When they were 30, they dreamed of governors mansions and senate seats. And when they were 39, they dreamed a little dream of an oval office and a desk. But as the two of them stood in the middle of the hallway, it became clear.



They could dream of nothing more.

Heath unlocked his arms from around Garrett, and turned to walk to his room. He was almost out of view as Garrett stood side to side with the painting of JFK.

“Heath,” he called out.

Heath stopped, sliding around in his shoes.

“There’s still so much more we could do,” said Garrett.

“I know, Garrett. I know. We just...ran out of mornings. Someone else will finish the job we started. Someone better than us.”

Garrett nodded, and Heath disappeared out of view. He took one last look up at the painting on the wall before walking back toward his office. He slowly opened the door of the room, and started inside. But as he was about to enter, Garrett turned around and faced the empty hall once more. Nodding, he sighed deeply. He looked up and guided his figures over the nameplate that read “Madison” on the centuries old wooden door.

“My honor it was,” he whispered to himself, before slowly closing the door to the Oval Office, and on the last eight years of his life. All of it, all the late nights, early mornings, world changings, and historic speeches, were now part of his painting on the wall, of his memento for the ones who would come after.

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