The look on ole Sammy Dryden’s face was that of pure contentment when it happened. He was fixated on the shape of the ballerina, his one good eye staring as affectionately while the other remained hidden behind its milky cataract blanket. His heart had simply ceased to continue beating.
His smile softened, then faded altogether as the life slipped away from his old bones. First the knife, and then the figurine he had been carving, fell from his hands. The first clattered against wooden floor, spinning for several seconds before coming to rest at his feet. The other landed on its side with a crack. The right arm of the graceful dancer broke from the impact and shot into the air, bouncing off of the approaching forehead of its maker.
He had been known as Sammy Dryden to his neighbors, though some of the children often referred to him as ole man Dryden, or Sammy D. He had survived his wife Hazel, of sixty years. He had outlived both of his sons, Robert and Douglas, who had each served and died for their country. He himself had served three tours protecting the people’s freedom. There was no man on God’s green Earth capable of sending him through the Pearly Gates.
As the rains finally died and the water level in the street slowly vanished into sewers already swollen from the storm, it was ultimately time that had betrayed him.
Nobody had noticed when Bryer Street’s oldest resident quietly died that night. The storm had taken its toll on the community’s residents. Having become disinterested once they realized that it wasn’t going to be the end of all things, each family had moved into the interiors of their homes to fulfill their nightly routines.
By the time anyone knew he was gone, he had become as wooden as the figurines he spent his days drawing from the wood.