Death of a Son

Death of Jay Gatsby in the perspective of his dad, Henry Gatz.


Jimmy had always been one step ahead. From a young age his daily routines and life was outlined in the back of his old book, Hopalong Cassidy. The first book he purchased with his own money.

His schedule proved he had the mindset of the elite and if he’d lived longer, he would be among the greats with James J. Hill, J.P Morgan and I strongly believe he could of, one day, rivalled the wealth of Rockefeller. He had the perseverance of the American soldiers in the frontline and the tenacity of his dreams, that seldom frightened him back to the reality of our situation, separated him from old playmates he used to play torpedoes with; he was part of the remarkable anomalies that made The Dream come true.

To everyone, at first, his mind seemed to be unhinged. All of his pursuits started on September 12, 1906, and from then on it led to his departure from Minnesota and from me. The town was not in an uproar, instead all gazes and conversation were based on pitiful looks and inquisitive statements on his disappearance. Though each passing day my hope diminished, it all started to come back when he had sent me a picture of his mansion. Then two years ago, he bought me the house I live in now. I saw then there was a reason for running off and though the ache I endured for my loss of a child was not in vain, his generosity did help make up for it.

I didn’t realise I would lose James again. I always thought I would pass before him like the usual protocol. He would go through the natural stages of grief and mourning – though quickly for I understood his lifestyle was not meant to stop or wait for anyone but himself – and he would remember that he was certainly not fed with a silver spoon and instead with my grey, calloused hands. Even if his memory was only brief. So when my ashen hands picked up the Chicago newspaper announcing the death, the murder and the reasons of the madman, I started right away to New York.

Mr Caraway led me to the drawing-room where he lay. I was on the point of collapse as through blurred vision I was greeted with pallidness, reminding me of a time long ago when he was a hopeless child that I struggled to feed every day. I soon left the room unable to handle The Grey slowly drenching every object in its reach; instead I was greeted by the height and the glamour and the splendour of the hall and the great rooms opening out from it into other rooms. White, gold and glossy mahogany worked together in unison to show me in its entirety what James had worked for. What Gatsby had worked for. I am immensely proud for his achievements, though I had to distance myself from the life I didn’t belong in and had to correct Mr Carraway when he referred to me as “Mr Gatsby”. Maybe that’s why I showed him Jimmy’s schedule – so he could take notes as in a sense this loss of greatness is greater than my loss of a child.

On the day of the funeral, at three after the minister had arrived, Mr Carraway and I had been watching to see if any other guests were to come. Nobody came. Until about five, it was only us and few servants when a man with owl-eyed glasses was splashing after us over the soggy ground. Previously I was confused by the lack of guests, I’m sure Jay Gatsby was loved and admired or least known after all of his success. But I was taken aback, reminded that I was his father when the man called him a “poor son-of-a-bitch”.

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