A Lifetime of Joy, A Period of Sorrow

Submitted into Contest #70 in response to: Write about someone trying to atone for a mistake they’ll never be able to fix.... view prompt


Sad Happy

A Lifetime of Joy Whilst A Lifetime of Sorrow

Keltie sat on a rock overlooking the swirling, crashing cerulean sea. It twisted as if in a tempest, yet just the day before it was mollified cyan. She knew the cause of this, yet she would dispose of it to no one. Her almost red, not quite blonde, and nowhere near orange hair blew in the wind, it rippled as if it was a wave itself, and moved as if it was a body in itself. Her eyes were closed, but if she decided to exhibit them you would spot blue with a greenish hue. 

Suddenly, with a start, the sky portrayed its evening gown. Blue turned to pink, and then pink to a shade of a mango. Keltie suddenly opened her eyes and tilted her head to the side. She started wandering away from the ocean, which had calmed its colliding nature. 

"Keltie Rue, if you don't come home this convicted second, I should deprive you of your bloomin' life!" A voice called from the north. 

Keltie sighed and smiled to herself, but she did hasten her legs. As she walked up the mossy jade road she came upon a small beaten down cottage. It was made by large boulders being tossed on top of each other. Peat and annelids resided in the crevices between the stones, and the roof was of sod. It was a classic story book cottage, and if Keltie was seeing it for the first time she would have assumed a witch to reside in the place, but she knew better. For indeed it was her own grandmother and herself who called the humble abode home. Keltie pushed open the rotting door of wood and stamped her foot on a small home-made knitted carpet, but it didn't do much good for the floor was dirt itself. The lighting was dim and Keltie squinted to see her grandma. She had old grey spun hair braided in two braids. Her eyes were much like Keltie's, yet she was taller by far. 

"Girl, what do you think you're doing to me? I've paced this floor more than once you know!" Her grandma stated as she briskly wrapped her beautiful granddaughter in hug and then whisked off to boil some water near the fire pit. 

"I'm home no later than usual, grandma. You know that." Keltie took off an old ripped scarf and hung it on a peg near the door. 

"I know, but you also know why I'm uneasy." Her grandma tossed some roast beef into the Sauerbraten. 

"Because of the bear sighting? Grandma, you know I'm wiser than some old Bär." Keltie proceeded to help her grandma, and swiftly dumped some cream and raisins in the stew. 

"I know that, the neighbors know that, fein, even dear old grandpa (bless his soul) knew that, but who doesn't? Dear old Mörder Bär, itself." With clear aim she sprinkled parsley in the bubbling Sauerbraten. 

"Grandma, you need to entspannen, to relax." Keltie rolled her eyes and took two bowls out of a homemade cupboard, her grandpa's own hands had carved, cut, and nailed tirelessly until the spice drawer and dinnerware larder had hung on the wall. She took two wooden spoons, and dished the final stew. They both sat down, recited their German prayer, and shoveled the beefy broth into their mouths. 

Just then an abrupt knock came on the door. It was with power, and the frail door almost failed underneath it. Keltie got up and called to the person to present themselves. 

A boy Keltie's age of seventeen walked in. He was of African descent, and was also Keltie's intended or betrothed. 

"Andy, calm down! You are about to destroy the home we live in!" His fiancé giggled. 

"Keltie, can you come out with me?" Andy said hesitantly. He slightly blushed and looked at the old lady in the corner. 

"Ack, you two love birds, begone." She walked and sat down with a thump in her old rocking chair. 

Keltie smiled and grabbed Andy's hand. She pulled him out of the house and raced over to an old wooden swing. Two ropes, almost as old as the cottage itself, held up the seat part. Many-a-lover had sat on the swing, with their consort pushing them. Many a thought (not fit to be put on this page) had been spun in the minds of generations. Keltie's parents, grandparents, neighbors, cousins, aunts, uncles, and everyone around her had fallen in love on that swing. Therefore, it was Keltie and Andy's go-to place to talk with each other. 

Keira Rue had met Andrew Stein at the age of seven. They didn't think much of each other, other than as playmates. But what seven-year-old, (unless provoked by an immature older sibling or parent) would think of love at such an innocent age? Of course they never knew each other as Keira or Andrew, but instead as Keltie and Andy. 

German society frowned upon the Rue family, for they paired Keltie with Andy. (Only because of the color of their skin! ) But the Rues were different after all. They were odd, and didn't care a whiff about society. Keltie's parents had died when she was three-years-old. She grew up with a descriptive imagination, and a loving grandma, and she never needed anything other. 

Keltie sat on the swing and looked at Andy. She had loved him since the age of thirteen, she remember the day she realized. She had told her grandma, and her grandma had quickly set it up that Andy would be her future husband. He had always been the only one she had ever loved, and vice versa. He had loved her since the age of ten. 

"Keltie, how was your day?" Andy asked. He pushed her back to make her swing slightly. 

"It was the same as any other. I herded the goats up the shortest mountain, ate lunch on tallest hill composed of grass and moss, and finally watched the sun set over the ocean. I'm glad you came, I want to show you something." Keltie got up. 

"What is it?" He asked. As she quickly bantered away he followed her. 

She led him to a small shack. It was the cleanest, newest thing on the property. In fact it looked quite nice. A glass window of the newest design stood on the south end, and on the north was a squat door that was just tall enough for Andy to fit through. They both entered, and at first the darkness was complete. Black, dank, forever darkness. But as their eyes settled, the emptiness let up and minuscule light shone through the window. They could just make out a small sack in the corner, a chair in another, and an ancient desk close to them. 

"I've been setting this up. I call it my, 'àite sgrìobhaidh'." Keltie giggled as she said this at the confusion on Andy's face. 

"Your Ache Sagrobraid? What?" His manly face was wrinkled in skepticism. 

"Dumm! Silly! Its Gaelic, my mother was Scottish, you know. It means, 'Writing Place'. It sounds almost romantic to me." She smiled and glanced proudly at the dark, plain room around her. But she didn't see reality, instead she saw what would be. 

"It does sound...romantic...sort of....Anyways, I have to go milk the cows at home. Would you like to escort me?" He held out his hand. 

"I'd rather not. I'd like to start on writing a story. Would you tell Grandmother that I'll be in soon?" Before he could reply, Keltie smiled her goodbye and sat down at the desk. For two candles worth she worked, until the first daylight. 


Keltie sat on her rock, the rock that just a year before was her throne and now was a simple seat for floods of tears to be born. Against her pale skin her hair lay. Once it was an entity, now it seemed as dead as the waves beneath her. For the waves didn't crash, twist, and dance...they lay as if in a sleep, as an indistinct cobalt blue. 

The night was an ink around her, pressing in and engulfing her. The clouds hung low shading all promise of light and making her feel in the depths of all anguish. 

Just last year she had a perfect life, she had no worries. The world was her’s and the ocean was her foot stool. She had a lover, family, and her writings. Now all that was dashed, and she would never be able to fix it, she would live in an emotional cave for the rest of her life, not experiencing any new passion or heartbreak.

For a romantic girl such as herself, it was equivalent to death. 

How did our dear Keltie get to this? The once vivacious girl without a worry stooped to a level of dull emotion. It started with Andy, her betrothed.

One day he didn't come home. 

She remembered the sword knifed into her heart when she heard of his death. She lay on the floor, fists pounding, heart aching. There is no adjective, alliteration, or simile to describe the grief she felt. He wasn't just potential future or just lover, he was her only future and her only lover. She didn't want or couldn't have another, Andy was hers. 

She was only three when her parents had passed on their way to America. They had drowned in a storm. That was why she had called the ocean her friend, for it held her parents in a watery bed, it was the place they lay their heads. 

Therefore in her memory span she had never experienced any form of grief this strong. She was too young to cry over her parent’s death then. 

Then her Grandma passed from old age. This death didn't sting quite as strong, it didn't kill her slowly. It did add to the pain. But by this time, she was so numb and unfeeling she couldn't inwardly die a second time. 

All of her romantic notions and imaginations were gone. She didn't have a person she loved on earth, and only very few could possibly try to understand how that felt. 

She would have turned to darker notions, ideas impossible to put on this innocent of a page, but she found a light in the dark, a rediscovered passion that fueled her life. 

Her writing shed. 

She wrote her heart out, she wrote about lovers lost, long-lived lives, and even a faint growing happiness in her characters. If you have ever written, you know how hard it is to capture the happiness of another person when you don’t feel any yourself. 

How did she lose herself again to sorrow’s cold and clammy hand? 

While anguish controlled her mind, she did the unthinkable, she gave up herself to a fake love. A love no past Keltie would ever think of, an arranged love, an abusive love. The love of a man other than Andy. 

She married with an emotionless face, at the age of eighteen. The dark hand she was supposed to take changed to a pale weathered one. He wasn’t German or Scottish or even English. He was a Yankee, and a Nationalist at that. He took her to his land, a land without meaning to her.

She no longer thought about her future but acted on impulse. Have children? Sure. A baby she named Andy Séamus Johnson was born. She held onto him close and his future closer. She needed him, and it was a miracle he was born. She felt a motherly instinct that she needed to live. What would happen to Andy if she didn’t?

She soon found out that marrying was the worst mistake of her life. Other than for her children alive now and to be alive later, her husband was nothing but a master to her servanthood. 

And she couldn’t undo it.

Imagine how much our Keltie has changed since she mocked her Grandma for worrying about bears? 

Soon she had four children. They were her anchor after bruises and blood covered her body. After the tears fell, she would snuggle a fresh and cozy child and feel motherly love that anchored her. 

She never showed her sorrows to her children, but only cuddled them close. She turned off all emotion and all feeling when she was around her husband, but there was no denying tears fell afterwards. 

When her daughter Kristin was older, she saw her mother’s marriage how it was and asked if she wished she never married their father. 

“Darling, then I wouldn’t have you or Andy or Lilly or Adelheid. I would be all by my lonesome and that would be worse than any marriage. I need you. I don’t need your father, and that is proof enough.” 

She tried to undo the fateful “I do” she uttered years ago. She wrote out paperwork like a printing press and tried to escape with her children numerous times. He would always catch them, a stupid giggle escaping his acholic stained lips. She would put the children back to bed and brace herself for the injuries she was to face. 

She couldn’t undo the marriage if she tried, and she tried. 

On rainy winter evenings the small family would sit by the fireplace and she would tell stories of Germany and the tales she had heard about Scotland. She would tell of the crashing cerulean sea, the rock, and of her Grandma. One time she told them a little story that started like this, 

“I sat on a rock over overlooking the swirling, crashing cerulean sea. It twisted as if in a tempest, yet just the day before it was mollified cyan. I knew the cause of this, yet I would dispose of it to no one. My almost red, not quite blonde, and nowhere near orange hair blew in the wind, it rippled as if it was a wave itself, and moved as if it was a body in itself."

November 30, 2020 03:16

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05:54 Dec 26, 2020

Rose....I am speechless. No seriously. All I gotta say is, you need to write a book soon or something cause your talent in writing is amazing. Its so good. This was literally one of the best saddest stories I have ever read. With every word it just got better and better. You showed sadness, grieving, and then you showed a distraction...and her wrong choices. The way you wrote everything was just beautifully painful. If this was a movie I would cry watching it. Seriously I can't tell you how good this is...but I tried. I can't believe thi...


Elaina Goodnough
20:16 Dec 26, 2020

Wow, thank you so much, Ugochi! This means so much. :)


Elaina Goodnough
20:21 Dec 26, 2020

Also, I want to thank you for reading a story that had no previous comments...This is my favorite story I have written and I found it sad people didn't feel drawn to it, so I THANK YOU! You are amazing, Ugochi!!


21:09 Dec 26, 2020

Of courseeee! Yeah, I know the feeling it happened to me once or twice, it sucks! But I'm so happy I read this! Aw thank you! Have a great day Rose!


Elaina Goodnough
05:04 Dec 27, 2020

You too! Like I said, thanks so much!


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