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 Life (Original Story)

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Eri
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PostSubject: Life (Original Story)   Wed Oct 21, 2015 5:57 pm

So this is an original piece I entered into a writing competition and want to know what you guys think of it.

Butter or jam?

Jam.

He grabbed the jar of strawberry jam, the toasted bread, and then slathered a coating of jam on the bread. He placed it onto his plate and then sat down on his chair at the kitchen table.

Just another normal morning.

So he continued on, finishing his food and then heading to his car. He drove to his work, found everyone either walking around with papers or gabbing to their coworkers, and walked to his cubicle.

He sat down on his chair and stared blankly at his wall.

A loud thump near him made him slowly turn his head to see Nancy from Accounting placing a large stack of papers on his desk.

“I need you to enter these into the database by tonight. They’re needed by the –”

Her voice started to fade through his ears until it became nothing but muffled sound to him. He didn’t really have to listen though. He’d been doing this for 11 years.

Actually, Nancy from Accounting had been coming there, on every Tuesday for the past 11 years, doing and saying the same things.

She’d left and he went back to staring at his wall.

He was 31 years old. He was single, had no family, no friends, and working at a job he could care less for.

And yet he wasn’t miserable. The funny thing was that he actually felt nothing.

When did he become so apathetic?

“I don’t care,” he said tiredly. He laughed mutedly and said it again. “I don’t care.”

If he walked out of his cubicle after having done nothing, would anyone notice? Would anyone have cared?

Probably not, he acknowledged. No one there really noticed he existed, and he doubted even Nancy from Accounting would have.

His life had become meaningless over time, and he had just stopped caring about it anymore.

He closed his eyes and wished he could have just stayed sleeping and forget to wake up.

~*~

The wind bustled quietly outside as he left the office building, heading home on his car. The car rumbled suspiciously, but he thought nothing of it until it died alongside a hill that overlooked old train tracks.

For awhile he sat in his car and thought to himself, ‘Why bother?’

He just didn’t want to. But he made himself call the towing services, and then trudged out of his car. On a whim, he kept going until he walked up the hill and stood on it, gazing down on the grassy land going down and then the tracks that lay out before the flat area.

His attention was grasped by the girl who sat in the place that marked where the end of the hill met the flat ground, and she firmly stayed in between.

His feet led him to her, and he watched as the golden strands of her hair whisked around her head with the wind. As he stood next to her, she looked up at him with eyes as blue as the skies, but as flat as the land in front of them.

Without more thought on it, he dropped to the ground next to her and sat silent by her side as he stared out in front of him. After a moment of gazing at him, she too looked forward.

Was it strange to find someone else like him?

Before he knew it, his phone was ringing and he had to go back to his car and get dropped off home. As he stood up, he looked down at the girl and hesitated. He opened his mouth, but then closed it. He inwardly shook his head and walked away. It’s not like he had anything to say anyway.

But what did he expect from himself?

Everything after that blurred for him, as his car was attached to the tow truck and he hitched a ride to his home. The night was just as bland as his morning, but he fell asleep wondering about that girl.

When he woke up, his morning repeated. And while he didn’t drive, he took a cab to work and found nothing had miraculously changed.

It was like a rinse and repeat cycle, and he found himself just feeling exhausted.

When work ended, it was raining then and he glanced outside, watching it rain and look as miserable as he ought to feel.

He walked straight into the rain and let it encompass him as he uncaringly walked on. Before long, he’d made it to the same spot his car had died at and looked up the hill. He looked behind to where he’d walked from, and then he looked onward on the path that had nothing in front of him.

He walked away from both directions, heading up the hill and standing up on it, and seeing the same blonde-haired girl from before. She’d closed her eyes and had tilted her head up towards the skies, the rain pelting her face softly.

This time, he’d observed her old, ripped jeans and her worn plaid shirt that clung to her as it got soaked by the rain. Her skin looked pasty in the gray backdrop of the rainy weather, and he was sure the cold wasn’t helping.

By the time he finished his observations, he’d unknowingly already made it to her side. Without a care, he sat on the grass, knowing the muddy ground would stick to this suit pants.

“You were walking in the rain,” she said suddenly, startling him by the unexpected interruption to their silence.

He blinked. “You were standing in the rain.”

She laughed lightly and finally righted her head and looked at him, her blue eyes a little more lively today.

He smiled a little and he was surprised at himself.

The smile felt so strange on his lips.

~*~

It didn’t stop raining that entire week.

But she was here every day, so he was too. Because as the world around them was gray, his life had somehow gained a little more color to it.

It was the best feeling he remembered ever having, for the longest time.

He knew nothing about her, and she didn’t know anything about him. They’d hardly even said a word to one another, and they hadn’t even said their names.

But he did know she always wore a small, weary smile, and her sky-blue eyes held a melancholic look all the time. In turn, he was sure she could see right through him, see how unhappy he was and how sometimes he felt nothing.

He didn’t know anything about her, and he certainly didn’t know what he was doing with her. Yet he hadn’t cared about anything for so long, and somehow he cared about her and he cared about this.

And if he didn’t care about anything else before, then he wouldn’t care that he knew nothing about her or what he was doing.

He didn’t care before, but he cared now.

“I want to make you happy,” he blurted out one day, and she looked at him in surprise.

“I wouldn’t be able to make you happy,” she told him honestly in return.

“I’m empty inside,” he admitted. “But I want to try to be everything you need.”

She gave him one of her sad smiles, and he just wanted to do his best to make it happy.

“I don’t need anything,” she said hollowly.

And then she turned towards the tracks and stared beyond them with a solemn gaze.

She wasn’t there the next day.

~*~

Maybe he’d made her feel empty inside. Was it all his fault? He hadn’t wanted to upset her. He just wanted…he just didn’t want her to be as cracked as he was.

She was much younger than him, he knew. So she definitely had much more to live for and much more to offer the world than someone like him.

It wasn’t fair. Why were they so miserable –because yes, he can feel the misery now –when the whole world wasn’t? Was there something broken inside of them? Some missing piece that they couldn’t recover?

“Are you even listening?” Nancy from Accounting asked him in confusion.

He turned to her with a miserable face.

“I don’t care,” he told her sincerely. “I just don’t care,” his voice cracked.

And he stood up and walked passed her, out of his cubicle, and left his work before he was supposed to.

Even as he returned home, he didn’t feel right. Then again, he’d never felt right.

So for the first time since he could remember, he lay down in bed and cried.

~*~

When he tentatively went to work, he was surprised that he hadn’t been fired after having just walked out like that. He almost thought that his normal invisibility meant it had been overlooked and no one had noticed him as usual, but as he walked through the hallways and to his cubicle, he saw the looks and heard the whispers.

He ignored them all and entered his cubicle, sitting at his desk like he had been for all these years that he’d been working there.

But then he looked at his desk and saw a post-it. With a drawn smiley at the top, it read:

Be happy and smile. Life doesn’t suck all time ~Nancy


He looked at it and then started to hysterically laugh and cry to himself.

He’d wanted to be everything she needed, but he couldn’t seem to be anything.

~*~

The day she didn’t appear, it had been sunny. And since then, it hadn’t been anything but sunny. He waffled between feeling emotionless to absolute misery, and it was hard on him to even drag himself out of bed some days.

Sometimes, though, Nancy would smile at him or one of his coworkers would drop by and start talking to him. There were days even that his toasted bread actually tasted of flavor to him, than the tastelessness he was used to (no matter how much butter or jam he’d put on it). There were days he even decided to eat cereal or even pancakes.

It felt like the best and worst time of his life. He felt something sometimes, and sometimes it was something good. Then there were days where he felt like never getting out of bed. Then there were the times where he again felt nothing and cared about nothing.

But he noticed that he was trying. It started after he’d met her, and he knew after meeting her that he’d begun to try his best to keep himself from being dragged down into the deep hole he’d built over the years.

He was trying and he wanted to be happy. That was the best he could do for now.

And as it rained again, he looked outside and found himself walking into the familiar rain again. He ignored his car and headed down the road and walked, and came upon that spot he could never miss. And as he walked up the hill, he wondered what it was he was expecting to see.

Seeing her again hadn’t been it certainly.

There she was again, feeling the rain on her tilted face. Her torn jeans and ragged plaid shirt looked as worn as ever, matching her weary, slumped body from where she stood much higher up than their normal spot. As he approached her, he could see the faint signs of bruises on her pallid face.

“If I cover my eyes like this, I can imagine the faint sounds of a train moving. It’s just the wind probably, but still,” she spoke without looking at him.

She took a deep breath and moved a foot up as to take a step, or prepare for a leap forward. He swallowed and moved forward quickly, grabbing her from behind and holding her, keeping her from what he knew was supposed to be a tumble off the hill.

“Then don’t close your eyes,” he murmured. “Keep them open.”

She took a shuddering breath and then a sob came out. Like a dam, it was released and she let it all out, falling to her knees and taking him with her.

“My,” she sniffed. “My name’s Willow.”

Something clicked inside of him and he felt himself smiling widely, even as he started to cry too.

“Tristan. My name’s Tristan.”

He was sure that he never wanted to cover his eyes ever again either.
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PostSubject: Re: Life (Original Story)   Thu Oct 22, 2015 12:36 pm

Shay: I'm sure there's a fantastic meaning to this story, but I'm not sure I'm creatively-minded enough to put it into words. It did leave quite the impression on me, at the least.
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PostSubject: Re: Life (Original Story)   Wed Oct 28, 2015 10:42 am

Thank you for reading it and giving your opinion! I hope it would leave an impression on the judges like it did you at the least Very Happy
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