I’m not very good at fiction or short stories but have tried my hand at it a few times. This is something I did in September 2007 and thought I’d share it with you. Your constructive criticism is always most welcome. Let me know what you think of this short piece.
He’s sitting on his favourite armchair watching the television but I can clearly see he is blank. He is just staring at the box and he is contemplating. He has just been diagnosed with an illness; although it can be controlled it has a chance of turning for the worst. He is very scared and he is wallowing in self-pity. Tears are swimming in his eyes, threatening to spill over but he doesn’t let them. He feels in control when he doesn’t let himself cry. At least that is the one aspect of his life that he can control.
He reaches for the remote and presses the mute button. Silently he stands up and walks towards the window where I am standing and looking in. Of course, he doesn’t see me at all. With hands clasped behind his back he stares out of the window looking up at the sky watching the clouds gathering. Tears well up in his eyes again and he quickly controls any spillage. I know what he’s thinking about but on the other hand I haven’t got a clue what his thought process is leading to.
I want to embrace his pain. I want to take it all away from him but I know that he will never allow me that close to him. He has always maintained a certain distance from me and I don’t expect him to break any barriers right now to reach out to me. Even though I try not to have expectations I just can’t help feeling disappointed.
I reach out and touch him through the window. He thinks it’s a breeze and he lets out an involuntary shiver, reaches out to shut the window but it doesn’t slide. He gives up deflated and once again I know what he is thinking. Nothing else seems to be working in his life so why should a window?
With a final look up at the sky, as though looking for a star that could give him a glimmer of hope, he turns back to his armchair and sits heavily on it. He doesn’t bother reaching for the remote and doesn’t even make an effort to stare blankly at the television. His unfocused stare is settled on an unseen object and the tears begin to well up again but he manages to blink them away without shedding them.
Suddenly he shakes his head as though he is snapping himself out of his derailed trained of thought, smiles through pursed lips, reaches for the remote and turns the volume up.
Within minutes he is absorbed in the sit-com that’s being aired and starts grinning then laughing at the punchlines.
I give him one final look and once again feel that I am always ever left looking in but never part of anything at all.
I turn back into what I am – a mist that gets blown away by the wind and become the nobody that I am, while he carries on laughing at the comedy he is watching.
~ © Kamal Kaur