60 comments

Contemporary Sad

******

“The fall is going to hurt more if there is no one to catch you.

So, find someone, find the person who will always be there at the bottom of the dark starless abyss waiting with their arms open, ready to hold you and take you back home. For that is when you will know that they are your home.”

******

Two doors. Both of equal build, similar coloured, a small viewing window on each.

The view was what mattered. Always.

Everyone favours the safe view, the view with the escape route, the stripes of popping colours with a pot of gold in the end, the view which doesn’t make your insides writhe with pain.

So, was it any surprise that I favoured the safe view too? Was it any surprise that I was sitting on the first step of the darkened stairwell, the only light coming through the very window that had guaranteed safety in the first place?

Oh, I’m sorry for disappointing you. You were probably expecting someone else.

Someone brave.

Someone who could have cheeks soaked in salt and still be okay. Someone who could look at a person lying on a hospital bed and sit next to them, holding their cold hand in their warm, life-filled ones. Someone who could talk for hours without minding the lack of response from the other, comforted by the convenient lie that they could hear all of it.

Someone who would know exactly what to say to make everyone feel better.

Anyone but me.

I pull my knees closer to my chest, wrapping my arms around them like I should be around her. Fitting my chin perfectly in the space between my knees like my chin should be placed at the crook of her shoulder.

I close my eyes and breathe in. Instead of vanilla, I smell dirt.

I know that it’s from the stairwell, but I can’t help but wonder whether it’s from her grave, the space that has already been assigned to her in the cemetery, the newly dug up earth waiting for its next occupant, its next companion.

The real question is whether the grave is going to be filled up by me or Mom first. I’m feeling quite close to it right now.

******

Two doors. One leading to a stairwell, another leading to my dying mother.

It should not come as a surprise that I went with the easy option, the one where I end up alone.

Loneliness is assurance.

My motto.

I have never questioned it before, and I won’t question it now.

My father left us alone, my sister ran off with a girl and left me alone, and now my mother is going to die and leave me alone.

Being alone is my default setting.

The fundamental unit of every group is a single person. But a fundamental unit is called so because it can function on its own. It needs nothing from anybody, and it never will.

Then why am I sitting in a stairwell with tears streaming down my face? Why do I wish I were on the other side of the wall, the side with my worst fears written all over it? The side with the once beautiful woman waiting, her frail body unable to hold on for much longer, the same body that had brought me into the world. The side where I would watch her leave me, just like everyone else.

Did I want to watch her go? Was I going to get any kind of pleasure from being left alone again? Was being proven right going to bring me any self-satisfaction? Or was it going to leave me feeling worse than ever?

******

Two doors. Loneliness in one and a companion in the other.

A feral scream is pulled out of my throat, echoing in the stairwell and ringing in my ears.

Why am I not strong enough? Why can’t I just go there and tell her I love her? Is it really as difficult as I fear it will be? Or am I just stalling until I don’t have to do it anymore?

I wrack my brain, thinking of the last conversation I had with her.

I’ll get the milk.

Okay.

Do her last words really need to be profound? Isn’t there a simple beauty to an everyday phrase?

Getting her milk is obviously not the first thing I’ll remember about her. I will only remember finding her on the ground, clutching a phone in her white hand with another pressed to her chest.

So, does it really matter? I will remember her running her fingers through my hair, trying to take out the knots gently. I will remember the sizzling oil in the kitchen, and her hair tied up in a bun. I will remember the lullabies, the arguments, the naps on her lap, and the warm hugs.

But I will also remember her lying on the hospital bed, reaching for someone who isn’t there.

******

Two doors. One filled with shadows threatening to strangle me, and the other filled with regret that grows stronger every single moment.

I pull open the door, blinking as my eyes try to adjust to the fluorescent light hitting my eyes.

Two steps. The second door.

The door that opens into my past and my future, and the time in between. The door that will always taunt me in my dreams, even if I get the courage to open it. The door that will become a fond memory, or a memorable obstacle.

I look through the window.

She is there, all the wires and tubes attached to her, keeping her alive, just long enough for me to make things right.

My hand lands on the knob, and I turn it, pushing the door open.

She opens her eyes, the whites whiter than ever before, and the corners of her mouth quirk up.

Through my blurred vision, I smile back.

******

“Our biggest regret is always the time we didn’t get to spend with someone we love. It is always lingering at the back of our minds, threatening to spill out through our tears.

We can’t change the past. We can’t bring back who we lost. But we can make sure that we don’t make the same mistake again.

If you love someone, let them know before it’s too late. Spend that time you’ll never get back.”

******

May 25, 2021 17:24

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60 comments

Deidra Lovegren
15:19 May 26, 2021

The repetition makes this so poetic, so lyrical. I'd almost strip to down to the essential, since it's so stark and honest. Maybe start it here: "Two doors. One leading to a stairwell, another leading to my dying mother." That would grab any reader's attention. I think you can work in our poor cowardly emotional narrator's angst and characterization in another section or two. But it's good and raw and emotional. Well done.

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Writer Maniac
15:22 May 26, 2021

Thank you so much for the honest feedback, I'll be sure to work on it further :)

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R. B. Leyland
11:54 May 26, 2021

The bit at the end broke me a little. All the deliberation on loneliness, only to realise that was the right choice all along. "She opens her eyes, the whites whiter than ever before, and the corners of her mouth quirk up." - Such a nice way to round it off too, even in her last moments she was happy to see her. Great job!

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Writer Maniac
11:58 May 26, 2021

Thank you so much, I really appreciate the feedback!

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R. B. Leyland
12:00 May 26, 2021

Always! If you get time, could you have a look at my "Cup half full" story? Went for a similar vibe as you did here :)

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Writer Maniac
12:51 May 26, 2021

It's so weird, when I got your first comment, I immediately went to your page and clicked on that story. It is one of my tabs, I'll be sure to check it out once I'm free :)

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R. B. Leyland
16:30 May 26, 2021

How strange ha! Thank you :)

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Kristin Neubauer
20:20 May 31, 2021

This is a heartwrenching story, but so well done. Such a creative approach to the prompt, using the doors as metaphors....and working with the idea that there may be choices, but they might not be good choices. This was one of those stories that gave me a lot to think about. Well done!

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Writer Maniac
02:54 Jun 01, 2021

Thank you for the feedback, I really appreciate it!

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Aw, this was a beautiful story Mania! I could definitely feel her loneliness which was sad. Well done Mania :)

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Writer Maniac
02:26 May 28, 2021

Thank you :)

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How are you?

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Writer Maniac
03:06 May 28, 2021

I'm alright, just really exhausted from my online classes, how about you?

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Ah. Yeah online classes can be quite draining-even in year six lol. I'm good right now. Just writing with a giant duvet over me 24/7 Totally normal ten year old behaviour :|

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Writer Maniac
07:56 May 28, 2021

That sounds like fun :)

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Amany Sayed
15:24 May 26, 2021

Aw, this flowed a little like poetry, with the repeating mantra of "Two doors...One..." going on to talk about different ways to say what the main character was feeling. I think this is written really well. And though it's sad, it has a hopeful ending, a wistful wisp of staying strong. Keep writing!

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Writer Maniac
15:42 May 26, 2021

Aww thank you so much for the feedback, I really appreciate it! I do write a lot of poetry as well, so I try to incorporate as much of it as I can in my stories :)

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Amel Parvez
06:25 May 26, 2021

Ahhhh sad but beautiful. just felt it :( <3

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Writer Maniac
06:52 May 26, 2021

Thank you!

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Amel Parvez
07:12 May 26, 2021

No problem! :)

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19:57 Jul 20, 2021

just going to say that every story you write never ceases to amaze me. I cried so hard at the end of this one and I just want to congratulate you on how wonderful of a writer you are !!! :)

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Writer Maniac
01:54 Jul 21, 2021

Thank you so much! I would love to hear your thoughts on 'Forget-Me-Not' :)

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Moriah Passero
16:52 Jun 16, 2021

I really like the beginning! It was very interesting!

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Writer Maniac
03:20 Jun 17, 2021

Could you please upvote me? I'm trying to get back to my original number of points (6110)

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Moriah Passero
17:51 Jun 17, 2021

how do you upvote people?

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Moriah Passero
20:27 Jun 18, 2021

oh, I found out how.

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Moriah Passero
20:27 Jun 18, 2021

Have you read my stories? If you haven't, could you?

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Writer Maniac
03:15 Jun 17, 2021

Thank you!

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Jay Luuu
14:29 Jun 04, 2021

How strange that before reading this, I thought about catching up with an old friend. Maybe after reading your story I just might! Really wonderful story. I could feel the regret in the character and the feeling of losing a loved one!

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Writer Maniac
14:46 Jun 04, 2021

Thank you so much, I'm glad my story inspired you to do something :)

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Aiden Otaktay
14:22 Jun 02, 2021

Very well written

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Writer Maniac
14:31 Jun 02, 2021

Thank you :)

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J.A. Blackmore
19:11 May 31, 2021

This is a really, really beautiful and amazing story. I love how you captured the image of the character not wanting to see their best friend in pain, but not wanting to leave them alone. I also really like how you added the part about the milk. My family has a motto that it's really the small things that matter, and I think you really captured that amazingly.

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Writer Maniac
02:54 Jun 01, 2021

Thank you so much, I'm glad you liked it!

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Angelina Jeong
04:59 May 28, 2021

This is so well written!

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Writer Maniac
06:30 May 28, 2021

Thank you :)

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Phoenix Langston
22:56 May 27, 2021

This was a beautifully written story. It was sad that both doors were making the main character feel bad in different ways. The lines about her loneliness were very powerful as well. I loved the ending too, when she and her mom looked at each other and smiled. It kind of wrapped things up on a happier note. But my favorite part about this is probably the quotations at the beginning and end -- how true they are! I'm so glad you added those. Incredible job, Mania!

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Writer Maniac
02:26 May 28, 2021

Thank you so much for the feedback, much appreciated :)

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Phoenix Langston
02:49 May 28, 2021

You're very welcome!

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Mazie Gray
11:20 May 27, 2021

You have written this story with a strong message. The line: "Being alone is my default setting." really hit hard. The two doors were, I felt, very symbolic of the character's position. They had to choose. Beautiful. -Brooke

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Writer Maniac
12:13 May 27, 2021

Thank you so much for your thoughtful feedback!

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Mazie Gray
12:17 May 27, 2021

My pleasure! <3

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Faleha Hakim
21:07 May 26, 2021

Loved how a strong message is conveyed through such soft and impacting words.....

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Writer Maniac
02:07 May 27, 2021

Thank you so much!

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Shea West
05:54 May 26, 2021

Mania, what an ode to the feeling that is despair when we know someone is dying. You captured the heavy sadness that is anticipating death. You begin to calculate every little moment, and dissect every second of time. This story is that exact feeling. I love how you used this prompt💚

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Writer Maniac
06:17 May 26, 2021

Thank you so much, I really appreciate the feedback!

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Kat Sencen
01:52 May 26, 2021

HELLO THERE! I HAVE AN IDEA! I declare June 10th as NATIONAL UPVOTING DAY!!! (Although its not really national. That just makes it sound better.) On that day we will do all the upvoting we want to. Hopefully a lot. We won't necessarily focus on anyone, just people who have been downvoted. Every point matters. Copy and paste this message, and hopefully we will do some major upvoting!

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Writer Maniac
02:09 May 26, 2021

Cool idea :)

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23:19 May 25, 2021

Hello, Mania! This story was just- the emotion conveyed was beautifully written, as always. I loved the repeating idea of starting the next paragraph with "two doors", it tied into the prompt very nicely. Amazing work :)

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Writer Maniac
02:09 May 26, 2021

Thank you so much, I'm glad you liked it!

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04:44 May 26, 2021

No problem, it was really interesting to read :)

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Kelly Dennison
18:24 May 25, 2021

Oof. This one was rife with despair and uncertainty...I'm still reeling a bit from that dose of loneliness. "Being alone is my default setting." Why does that hurt so much to read? Nicely done...I love ones that makes you feel!

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Writer Maniac
02:08 May 26, 2021

Thank you so much for the feedback, I really appreciate it!

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Retee Satish
23:21 Jun 15, 2021

This was an amazing story! I love how you described how she was feeling especially with so much detail!

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Writer Maniac
02:49 Jun 16, 2021

Thank you so much, I'm glad you liked it!

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