Add it up by Bernard Heise

He was born in Berlin in 1933 – an unlucky year.  Yet one of his earliest memories was of his mother telling him that he had a lucky number.  He asked her a few times what it was, but she always told him that he needed to find out for himself.  So he stopped asking and started wondering instead.  Was it twelve?  For that was the address of their building in the working class neighborhood of Wedding which for some reason remained unmolested by both allied bombs and Soviet soldiers.  Or perhaps 53, the year they immigrated toCanada, where he worked off his debt to the government inAlberta’s sugar beet fields and later bought a modest farm in the rough country north of Edmonton.  When gazing upon his wife, he’d wonder if it was the number one, for their love, which ignited young, had matured but never waned.  Perhaps it was two, the sum of his daughters, both beautiful and well-adjusted; while unimportant in the eyes of the world, they were his inestimable treasure.  Then one spring, while fixing a wire fence, his 73-year old heart collapsed and he fell back into the snow.  Gazing up at the blue sky for what he knew was the last time, he observed his own death: painless, easy, and quick. Which made him consider the number three.  And so he died, never actually knowing what his lucky number was but having lived a life in which he’d always counted his blessings.

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “Add it up by Bernard Heise

  1. this is great. i love the texture of this story, its attention to detail. great last sentence.

  2. joe mckeown

    Absolutely brilliant Reverend Bernard-I give it a ten!

  3. Oh what a great great great great story! It can inspire those of whose who struggle with the search for meaning, when meaning is everywhere … and also, nowhere, but why does it have to be there anyway … ?

  4. Kelly Grotke

    very nice. I like the wondering, and the way it draws out the connections between people, good fortune, life and death

  5. Oooooh, that was great. Loved the way it came together in the end.

  6. great story. while reading, it left me guessing where it is headed to, together with the main character. and then this suprise ending twist. yes, loved the way this came together.

  7. guy

    I like the tension between the detachment of the narrative voice and the intimacy of detail. There’s a similar distanced but reserved affection for the characters in many of your pieces.

  8. Bernie

    Thanks for the kind words, folks.

  9. Pingback: Week #18 – Lucky Number « 52|250 A Year of Flash

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