Some wishes are better left unfulfilled

Submitted into Contest #94 in response to: End your story with someone finally conceding to another’s point of view.... view prompt


Romance Sad

Warm colors adorned the shabby bedroom through the glass window, marking the onset of sunset. The old man idling away on his unkempt bed, sulked, rubbing his eyes due to the sudden intrusion of light.

      The clanking of steel utensils against each other resounded in the kitchen, whereas obnoxious rock music blared from the old music system in the living room, making the house a chaotic mess.

House? Check. A humble apartment? Check. A roof over the head? Check.

       Home? Just a group of strangers simply sharing a common roof, other than their blood, and a legal bond of marriage and parenthood, with no mutual feelings associated. It was just a house, an apartment to be precise, merely constructed of bricks, cement and other basic ingredients of construction that do not make a home.

The slew of whistles from the pressure cooker followed by the concomitant aroma of chicken reminded the old man of the love he shared with his wife even half a decade ago.

            Being the habitual slugabed, he had much difficulty getting out of bed. He retrieved a DVD of his favorite movie and started playing it on the player. While watching the movie, he looked back to the days when he had started his career as a comedian, defying his parents. But back then, he knew it was an honorable job, making people laugh while stifling one's own day-to-day misery as well as laughter.

"Hey! That's not how you do comic gestures," he yelled at the TV screen, the remote moving perfectly in sync with his hand gestures.

His wife yelled back from the kitchen, silencing him. The old man retreated to the corner of the bed, stifling his feeling of offence.

"These days, the focus has completely shifted from entertainment to vulgarity. The taste of the young audience has given leeway for such black comedy. Disgusting!" he mumbled.

The blaring music in the living room stopped, and he could hear footsteps marching towards his room.

          His son entered the room, scrambled through his father's woodpecked cupboard and pulled out the only new shirt he had bought for his old man. As he was about to leave, his father stopped him.

"What are you doing with that shirt?" he asked.

"I thought you wouldn't need it anymore," said the young man, throwing on the shirt nonchalantly.

The old man sighed. His son, no longer considered him worthy of the present, he had bought for him on his birthday. He leaned back against the headboard and reminisced the good old days with his family, when their situation was still tight, but they were happy and cooperative with each other. Now, with his obliteration from the film industry that refused to acknowledge the contribution and talent of its comedians, his worth had fallen in his family exponentially. He had dreamt of his son continuing his legacy of becoming a renowned comedian, but it only widened the rift between him and his son.

             The young man bustled out while still closing the last two buttons of his shirt. From the bedroom, he could hear his son holler in the direction of his mother.

"Don't wait up for me. I might be late. I'm going to visit an old friend who is in the hospital."

There was no reply from the other side.

A few minutes had passed into contemplation of the past. The old man called in question, his success as a family man.

Did he ever try to listen to the grievances of his family? Did he really take his wife for granted? Did he really burden her with the onus of marriage and parenthood, stifling her own wishes in the process?

The answer to these barrage of questions would lead to the course of actions he had taken in response to his wife's behavior, five years ago.

      The key to his answer could be heard in the next room, not the jingling sound in literal sense, but in the form of a fuzzy, yet melodious feminine voice.

He marched in the direction of the sound. Standing at the door, he saw his wife facing her back towards him, and listening to her own voice on the gramophone, intently.

"Why did you leave singing?" he asked from the doorway.

The old lady, who was leaning against the large table supporting the gramophone, now sat bolt upright.

"I think you already know the answer," she replied without facing him.

The slow rotation of the records swirled his mind back to his past, the course of actions and decisions that had jeopardized his marriage.

"I want to be a singer. I want to be famous, just like you. I want to conquer the world and the hearts of its people," his wife whined, making a nimble twirl with her new flowy dress.

The old man stared at her blankly, trying to process her real priority, the cultivation of her musical skills or the attainment of fame and riches. The one thing he hated was the common trait of most people, who use their artistry for materialistic conquests, instead of mastering their skills and elevating themselves in the spiritual word of art. Art is a matter of worship and cultivation, the transmutation of which would vitiate its essence.

"Why are you only focusing on the glamorous aspect of your musical skills? Why don't you focus more of your time in refining those skills, instead of chasing an illusion?" he asked.

"Edgar, do you think I'm being delusional? That I'm not capable of attaining popularity like you because I'm a homemaker, trapped within these four walls, having no idea about the vast world outside?" the old woman yelled, suddenly hyperventilating.

          She immediately grabbed the jug placed on the small study table next to her, and gulped down the remnant of its contents.

"Or, Edgar, you're feeling scared," she continued, before clearing her throat.

Edgar stared long and hard at his wife. Not only did she look delusional by her appearance, but also by her words. He was tongue-tied by her senility. What reason could he possibly have for being scared by her attainment of fame?

"All these years, you've kept me caged within these four walls, confined to mere domestic affairs. I've sacrificed all my dreams to fulfil yours, to support my son, but what have I got in return? I've been reduced to a vain shell, who has only been taken for granted," she cried.

Edgar felt sorry for his wife. He wished he could do something to alleviate those usual grievances of his very domestic wife, but she was naive. Having been exposed to the glamour world for a period of almost three decades, Edgar was well-versed with the intrigues and shrewd intricacies of the film industry. He himself had lost his importance because of his non-compliance with their unappreciative and capitalistic attitude. He didn't want his wife to be exposed to the deceptive world outside.

"Mallory, I never took you for granted. You know that very well. If anything, I've always shared the burden with you," he said calmly.

"That was when you were unemployed," she retorted.

"The greed for materialistic conquests has expunged the values of appreciation from your system. When I'm asking you to focus on refining your skills, trust me, it will help you in the long run. I'm doing all this to protect you, and as long as I'm alive, I'll protect you and our son from all the external evil forces, with all my might," Edgar explained, closing the daily magazine he was holding.

"What you call protection, I call insecurity. You're afraid that you'll be unable to handle it if I outshine you with my talent. And then, this forgotten comedian would be known as Mallory Brown's husband," Mallory replied, already starting to walk away.

"I've always loved you, Mallory. I do care about your wishes, and I really want you to shine in life, whether you outshine me or not. I don't want you to let the glitters get to your head, because I've been through them, foolishly trying to dig for gold in them."

"My wish is becoming a renowned singer someday, one that you'll never understand," Mallory yelled back from the bedroom.

"Some wishes are better left unfulfilled," Edgar said inaudibly, leaning back on his threadbare wicker rocker.

Edgar stared at his morose wife, sighing in defeat. She had become an inert machine since then, completely letting herself go. She had stopped practising her singing during the evening like she did, five years ago. Her cheeks had grown hollow, her sunken eyes and facial pallor likening her to a scary medieval witch. Sometimes, he wished he could go back on time, rethink over his decisions, undo all his actions. For the first time in his life, he was calling in question the strong convictions he had held onto, since ages. At the end of the day, no human is ideal, and for every domestic man, family is his first priority, even it is at the cost of compromising his rigid ideals and discretion.

Elsewhere, Edgar Jr. entered a small cabin, smelling of an amalgam of medicines, room freshners and antiseptics. They weren't particularly palatable, and he hated their odors since their aftermath always took a toll on his sensory experience.

            The cabin looked too cramped and dingy for the taste of the patient occupying it. At one corner of the room, there was an artificial ventilation apparatus, attached to different parts of the patient's body, by means of pipes and vacuums.

             He moved towards the opposite side of the room and pulled open the blinds.

"I can't tolerate light," a weak feminine voice croaked.

"But it's too dark here," he insisted.

"I've been exposed to limelight to the extent that it exhausts me," she said in a muffled voice, turning her head the other way.

Edgar Jr. ambled towards her bed and pulled out a stool. He sat on it and intertwined his fingers with hers.

"Let's just stay like this for a while," he whispered, looking down lovingly at her.

Ah! How much he had waited for this day! How he wished he could've met his former lover someday, and hugged her and told her how much he had missed her! No! This time, he wouldn't let his ego get in the way of his love. But alas! Mr. and Mrs. Right had met at the wrong time, wrong venue, when there was no more room for reconciliation.

He recalled the day he had taken his mother to fulfil her wishes, defying his father. She was being rejected repeatedly, by several agencies that either asked for a lump sum of money, or ignored her talent because of her choice of genre of songs - devotional songs.

          Fate had finally smiled upon them when they heard the news of an audition going on for a lead singer, urgently needed for a religious Hollywood movie. It would have been a big break for her, the only path to which was an application for auditioning. His mother was determined to conquer the world with her talent.

Mallory had just started filling out the application form, when they received a call about the emergency admission of her father, to the hospital. That was the sweetest mistake of their lives.

             A young woman named Inge had entered the studio just then. After her pleas to the receptionist about making way for one more application for her went in vain, she felt dejected, and took the seat previously occupied by the mother-son duo. An empty application form lying next to her made way for the fulfilment of her dreams.

Meanwhile, Mallory and her son had returned to find the young woman auditioning in their place.

"You remember, how you went all ballistic, accusing me of duping your mother?" Inge tittered.

"I had enough reason to be so. Because of you, my mother was reduced to a background singer," Edgar pouted.

Inge's face turned contrite, and she apologized almost inaudibly. Immediately realizing his mistake, Edgar calmed her down.

"Now I'm glad you took my mother's place in that audition, else I couldn't have met you," he said gleefully.

"That's the only good thing that came out of it. I still wish, I didn't take your mother's place," she said.

Edgar leaned forward and kissed her soft hands.

"I hope you don't regret meeting me. Moreover, my mother was plain naive and egocentric, not wanting to lose to a girl of her daughter's age. She wasn't ready to start from the bottom, so she simply gave up. Without perseverance, your ambition can take no direction," he explained.

Inge was sick physically, but hadn't lost her wits to understand the undercurrent of sympathy and condolence in his voice.

"I regret leaving you," she breathed.

Edgar looked up, visibly surprised at her sudden declaration.

"I regret leaving you for something that is not worth it - fame, money, glamour."

Just then a loud beep scared him out of his wits.

"Inge? Are you okay?" he looked at the breathless patient, too scared to touch her chest.

Within a few moments, the doctors and nurses bustled in and ushered him out into the waiting area. He took a seat on one of the chairs reluctantly, with his hands on his knees, waiting in anticipation, as the medical staff moved agitatedly.

            Back at home, the dinner had already turned cold, with the old couple fidgeting at the dining table.

"Did he tell you precisely, which friend he was going to visit and in which hospital?" Edgar Sr. asked.

Mallory looked at the wall clock once again, before answering.

"He's an independent adult now. As long as he was unemployed, he was answerable to us. But not anymore," she retorted.

Edgar looked around at the welter of clothes heaped on the living room sofa, which was hardly a few yards away.

"Yet he is so disorganized. When will he grow up? When will he realize that as long as he lives under our roof, he will be answerable to us?" Edgar shouted.

"He doesn't think he's answerable to you," Mallory replied nonchalantly.

The sky had already started to turn a lighter shade, and the chirping of birds marked the onset of dawn. The old couple retreated to their room, where they had not slept one wink.

             It was only a matter of a few hours, but felt like aeons of time. Mallory was already upset about her son's vague answers and the tone he used with her over the phone. They were contemplating consulting their neighbors, when the doorbell rang.

Mallory rushed out into the living room and towards the wooden door, unlocking it. Her impatient son bustled in and trotted towards his room. The morning daily was lying on the dusty ground, at their doorstep. Mallory picked it up and read the headline.

"Renowned singer Inge D'angelo dies by drug overdose at Alastair Medical Institute. She was at the nadir of her career, when this happened. Is depression the sole reason? Or could it be called suicide?"

"She cannot die on me!! She had met with an accident!! What rubbish have they published?" her son yelled from his room, setting its contents helter skelter.

Mallory rushed towards his room, accompanied by her husband. He deterred her from going further, lest their angered son should hurt her. Defeated, Mallory walked out into the living room, shedding a few tears. Despite her strong dislike for the girl, she had brought herself to accept her for the sake of her son. However, with Inge's departure, Mallory's hatred for the girl returned. But she never wished it upon anyone, leave alone her son's soul mate. She was merely jealous of her lifestyle.

           The old man came out, his arms wrapped around his son's shoulders after he had successfully calmed him down, and signalled for his wife to clean up his room.

            The old woman walked into the room clumsily, tripping over things and handling herself simultaneously. While stopping down to pick all the things up, her eyes fell on a neatly folded piece of paper.

             She picked up and unfolded it carefully. Written meticulously in ink, it read :

"Dear Edgar,

                   By the time you receive this letter, I will have renounced my terrestrial life. It is an involuntary decision, yet this liberation is my choice.

                    You must be wondering how my successful life could've steered me towards my doom. You must be wondering why I'm the one suffering, when you should be the ones living in misfortune because of your failed ambitions. But let me tell you, even though the celestial bodies look beautiful from afar, you cannot touch them. Even if you manage to do so, it will burn you to ashes. I've admired them from afar, but experienced their wrath from close vicinity. The gold was vain glitter, and the fulgent diamond was an ineffective sparkle.

                   Your mother is lucky, that the aroma masking the stench of fame, did not asphyxiate her lungs; she is lucky that the brilliance of spotlight did not blind her, nor did the heat of limelight scorch her skin. Your mother is lucky that her lackluster life shielded her from the wrath of fame and limelight; she is lucky that she is accustomed to the air confined within the four walls of your apartment. Sometimes, too much of air is harmful for the lungs. 

                I won't say dreaming is wrong. But when your dreams give way to greed and obsession, your doom is inevitable. I had abandoned my musical singularity and my lover to appease the masters who led me to the edge of success, but fled when the waves started to erode the cliff.

                 I wish I hadn't acted upon my dream so greedily because they were't worth the most priceless gems of my life - you and my voice. Some wishes are better -"

Mallory could read no further, as guilty tears obliterated the last words of the letter.


May 20, 2021 09:35

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:}} Silverstar
12:42 May 26, 2021

Brilliant story. "Some wishes are better left unfulfilled." Your writing style seems very intricate and poetic - which is just what I like to see! I'm sure it resonates with many other writers too :))] If I may make a suggestion, pardon me, I'd try to make the dialogue sound more natural. It was beautiful to read the formality of speech exchanged between your characters, but usually, everyday conversations aren't as well-formed and orderly like the ones you've written out in your narrative. Nonetheless, it was enjoyable all the same. <3 I ho...


Tina Eddie
13:56 May 26, 2021

I'm inexplicably happy that you liked my story. And yesssss, I sure do want to share pointers with you, if that helps. And I would also love to collab with you sometime.


:}} Silverstar
15:19 May 26, 2021

Awhhw!! happy to help~ I've never done a collab before! Have you? And yes, I'd love to team up and write together in the future! sounds fun :}}


Tina Eddie
17:02 May 26, 2021

No I haven't either. You could drop your mail 🆔 and I'd drop a mail.


:}} Silverstar
22:32 May 26, 2021

Ok sure! My email's :} feel free to drop me yours too <3


Tina Eddie
07:59 May 27, 2021

Sure 😊


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Tina Eddie
17:03 May 26, 2021

No I haven't, either. You could drop your mail 🆔 and I'd drop a mail in your mailbox and we could discuss some ideas.


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Daniel R. Hayes
16:03 May 20, 2021

This was amazing Tina! I think this one just might be my favorite of yours so far. It really got me that she stayed home to be a homemaker while he went out to achieve his dreams. I think to many women tend to do this. They stay home taking care of things while their partners run away to please themselves. You had so many good lines here. These two stood out for me: "use their artistry for materialistic conquests, instead of mastering their skills and elevating themselves in the spiritual word of art." - and - "when your dreams give w...


Tina Eddie
16:23 May 20, 2021

Thanks a lot, Daniel. I was actually feeling insecure about this, for the simple fact that my story might be misinterpreted as being misogynistic, but I'm happy that you enjoyed it and rightly interpreted the message I intended to convey. 😀


Daniel R. Hayes
16:40 May 20, 2021

You're welcome ;) I don't think it came off that way at all. I understand the anxiety about misinterpretations, and I don't think you have to worry here. This was really great, thank you for sharing it :)


Tina Eddie
17:00 May 20, 2021

I should thank you for taking the time to read it. Meanwhile I've also left a comment on your Hit and Run story. Each story of yours is unique in its own way. Erratic themes and stories work wonders for us writers.


Daniel R. Hayes
19:55 May 20, 2021

No need to thank me, it was my pleasure to read your story. I hope you keep writing, because I look forward to more!! :)


Tina Eddie
20:31 May 20, 2021

I too, look forward to reading more of your stories and seeing more of them being adapted into short films.


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Shruti Jain
10:34 May 20, 2021

Dream itself is a paradoxical word, and one must make judicious use of it.


Tina Eddie
10:39 May 20, 2021

Yes. You're absolutely right di.


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10:22 May 20, 2021

Wonderfully written


Tina Eddie
10:37 May 20, 2021

I'm so happy you liked it. Thank you so much.


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