This Is How I Make Amends

Submitted into Contest #54 in response to: Write a story about someone looking to make amends for a mistake.... view prompt



I know this is coming to an end

Aware of all the pain that will ensue

And when it leaves a hole inside my chest

I’m not sure how I’ll cover up the wound

Those are the notes I play on the piano. The broken melody of a shattered serenade. The notes have no meaning or strength. Just like me.

I feel the mistakes in the notes, just like I feel the mistakes in me. Each one a glass shard of a broken picture which was never perfect to begin with. 

The musical imbalances are like a separate stab between my fingers. They should be perfect. I’ve been playing since childhood. I should be perfect.

But then… I’m not. I’m not even close.

Not me.

I am nothing. I have nothing. Everything is nothing. Life is nothing. People who’ve loved and lost have and are nothing because love is nothing. I know this myself.  

~6 years ago~

Please, Dan, forgive me! I swear it was an accident! 

The sparks in my cheek amplified with his hand.

I didn’t mean to! Why would I do anything to hurt you or your family? 

My ribs broke with the heel of his working boots.

I’m so sorry, Dan. Please! Don’t let me go! 

Don’t let me go… 

I am but an atom in a never-ending universe. A trail of pretty, wispy smoke that fades away into the air from the blazing flame of existence. I am nothing, just like everything else is nothing. Even fires are put out. And all that’s left are the dead ashes. 

My whole life was a mission for meaning. Then it was forgiveness. I wanted to find a way in something. Something pure, something good, something beautiful. Something that gives me definiteness, completion, peace. Forgiveness could do it. 

But I couldn’t find it. I groveled the dirt and the dust for it. I’ve begged and faced abuse for it. But it was like a star. Beautiful, shimmering, comforting. But impossibly out of my reach. There was no way I could attain it. Yet.

 There is nothing that gives life meaning because everything is going to dissipate sooner or later. Everything one day, is going to stop existing. There is nothing that means anything because it can’t give itself meaning. So what’s the point? 

It’s worse for anyone with 6 years jail time. Anyone with family in four categories; dead, absent, abusive, neglectful. Anyone diagnosed with severe depression. Anyone who just wants to make amends for a mistake. 

I made a mistake. And now I can’t go back. I can’t find anything to hold on to, to make sense of. Because everything is meaningless. Even the seemingly good things humans pointlessly hold on to, like family and friends. But not to worry. I’ll be alright soon. 

I get up and trace the walls of my bedroom with my fingertips. Funny walls. They’re bright yellow. A bright daffodil color that’s too bright for the eyes on a sunny day. 

Vincent Van Gogh ate yellow paint. Most people think he did it because he thought it would make him happy

THEY’RE WRONG. He drank yellow paint because he wanted kill himself. He was depressed and had attacks so bad he couldn’t paint no more. His talents became meaningless because he broke. 

If I paint yellow on my mistakes, my wounds, my past, would they go away? Would it become better? Would a bright yellow lemonade sun radiate into my world and give me all them positive meaningless feelings? Would the bright daisies of forgiveness come and say that it’s okay? That my mistakes are okay? That I’m okay? 

Will Victoria Gage ever be okay?

I sit back down at the piano. 

Maybe you’ll be on your way to work

And hear it when you’re driving down the street

And maybe then you’ll wanna make things work

And tell me that you never wanna leave

Fantasy. Everything will leave one day. Just like Dan. That’s the only thing that doesn’t leave. Leaving. This form, this BODY, will leave me. That thought is so frighteningly abysmal it produced glass and blood speckles on my rug. 

~1 week ago~

I stare at the mirror. I was pretty. That was disgusting. Beauty can be ruined by a car accident where the window glass cuts your face. By a raging fire that burns your face down to red, raw, muscles. By a disease that removes all your hair, whitens your eyes, and greens your face. Even senile age. Whiter, thinner hair, sallow, fleshy wrinkles, a decaying body. 

Even my physical form was meaningless. My bright blue eyes, my fair, slightly freckled skin, my willowy chestnut hair. My petite shape, sunken shoulders, sharp jawline. Small hands, slim feet, curved hips. I could lose them all tomorrow. 

My hand gripped my phone, and I hurled it with all my strength at the mirror, erupting a series of fissures along its surface. A good amount of the mirror fell to the floor. Those huge hand-size shards. Let’s see… 

I kneeled to the floor, oblivious to the glass digging into my knees, and grabbed one with a nice pointy tip. Baring my wrist, I first sunk the point into the skin. When a dribble of red bubbled, I sheared it across. I first flinched and let out a shaky groan at the sting, then relaxed in the spicy burn that followed. 

But the tears formed when the burn faded. Again and again I tried. But the burn never remained for more than several minutes. Weeping, I stared at the jagged, crimson streaks gushing out of my forearm and felt the broken skin. Even pain was temporary and meaningless. These tears are meaningless. 

I got up, a bloody mess from the showering glass and the cutting, without bother to stem any of them. 

What would Dan say at my state? My whole life I desperately wanted his forgiveness. I wanted to make amends. I wanted to be clean. I wanted the meaning of forgiveness. But nothing has meaning. I learned that. Maybe now I can. 

I stared out the window this time. Cars. SUV’s and sedans and sports cars. Taxis, buses, and bicycles. Buildings, shops, restaurants. The convenient Starbucks right across the street. 

I know them all. I have to. To them all, I appear a normal person. I work as a secretary as a dentist’s office, Carvar’s. a job I had for two years. But these past few weeks have been a futile, measly, attempt. Some days taking offs with formal notice, others working 6 hours overtime and taking the other secretary, Janine’s, shifts.

But work is meaningless. 

I sometimes go out to the pub with my colleague “friends” at Carvar’s, Janine and Joe and Chris and Lucy. I laugh, I smile, I raise my beer glass with them and toast to love and happiness and clean teeth and the future and birthdays and celebrations. But I toast to nothing. They are all meaningless. 

~12 hours ago~

I have my intricate make up on. When you don’t sleep for nights on end you have a delicate hand. A cardigan with Carvar’s logo. White blouse. Slacks. Typical. I will run late today. I don’t mind. Work is meaningless. 

I order a latte at that convenient Starbucks. I’m there at least once a week. The barista, Laurie, serves every time. African-American, ringlet afro, warm, soft, a kind complexion. We make small talk. What a lovely day, did you hear the news, how nice it is to see… She compliments my earrings. I give her the tip she’s obviously after. 

See? Meaningless. 

The word rings in my head. The picture frames of the first Starbucks in Seattle is meaningless. That man on his laptop is meaningless. The bright red overhead LED lights are meaningless.

Forget work. It’s meaningless. I turn around and return to my apartment. 


Was Dan meaningless? He was strange. From his bubbly brown eyes to our favorite ruddy flannel shirt. He was… I don’t know. I can’t bare to answer. It would make the everything more that meaningless. It would make it nothing. It would make it all disappear. It would blur into a bunch shapes and colors and sounds. The dimension would fall out. 

But it’s okay. I don’t have to answer. 

Night falls. I must get going now. 

I play the last few notes. 

My body’s filled with my regret

And sorrow

Gloomy symphonies fill my head, 

Almost there. I’m almost done with this broken, imperfect song. 

Tonight I think I’ll write the saddest song

To cleanse me of your memory and mend me when you’re gone

I can feel we’re barely holding on

So tonight I think I’ll write the saddest song

And maybe when I play it in my room

I won’t feel so empty when I’m thinking about you

I can feel we’re barely holding on

So tonight I think I’ll write the saddest song

This is my anthem. I completed it. It is finished. Even though broken and imperfect, it is done. That’s my desire. 

With my jacket, I walk out. I pass the useless things that hit the eye. I am surrounded by it all. Soon, I won’t. 

After a bit of a trek, I reach the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s quite empty. The clear night sky holds up a waning pearl moon. I grip the railings and stare at it. The moon is meaningless. 

This is where Dan and I spent nights on end, dreaming about stars and singing over the San Francisco Bay. Where we watched the scarlet-streaked sun dip beneath the distant towers. A sun that would explode into a supernova in a billion years or so. 

 My whole life I wanted forgiveness. The only thing MEANINGFUL thing. Forgiveness was the one thing that had meaning to me because it would take away my mistakes.

But in a universe of meaninglessness, the one thing that had meaningfulness was out of my reach. It’s okay. There’s a solution. 

I stared at the sky. In the lighted city, stars were invisible. But I knew they were there. Like most things in life. 

I’m coming 

I pulled out a pen and paper. Two years a secretary always keeps one on you. 

Life has no meaning. 

So maybe death does. 

I stared at the water’s edge. 200 feet at the very least. Impact would be like concrete. 

Only one way to find out. 

The paper soon read:

I am forgiven. 

This is how I make amends.

August 11, 2020 13:26

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Doubra Akika
18:49 Aug 15, 2020

This felt almost poetic. I started reading it yesterday but for some weird reason I didn’t comment. A part of this was repeated twice. I’m not sure if that was intentional or not that’s why I’m pointing it out. Even if it was intentional it definitely created the impact you were looking for I think. Because I had the story in my head after I read it twice. The ending is beautifully written and the whole thing evoked so much emotion. Well done!


Saron Mengistu
06:32 Aug 16, 2020

Hey Doubra. Thank you so so so much for pointing out the repetition. That is NOT supposed to be there. I must've copypasted twice by accident and didn't notice. I was so relieved reading it again and fixing. Thank you again for the kind words. :))


Doubra Akika
12:49 Aug 16, 2020

It was my pleasure! Would you mind checking out my recent story when you’re free?


Saron Mengistu
13:52 Aug 16, 2020

I'd love to! I love your stories!


Doubra Akika
14:03 Aug 16, 2020



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Saron Mengistu
13:33 Aug 11, 2020

SUP READERS The song from the piano is The Saddest Song by Alec Benjamin. Also, I'm not sure if I should continue and make a part two. I'll leave that up to yall;)) So just leave what you think in a comment:D


Conan Helsley
20:21 Aug 13, 2020

I don't think this needs a part 2. It's perfect as is.


Saron Mengistu
06:11 Aug 14, 2020

Thank you for your input. I'm so glad you think so.


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Amel Parvez
16:05 Jan 19, 2021

Awesome! I just loved it, the way it flowed. And the way u have described the feelings: perfect. :)


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Conan Helsley
07:19 Aug 14, 2020

I looked through again and couldn't really find many mistakes. They seemed to be issues of proofreading more than anything. I tried to copy and paste the ones I saw but my junk phone didn't copy everything. But nothing took away from the story anyway, so it isn't anything you need to focus on.


Saron Mengistu
07:56 Aug 14, 2020

Oh okay. Again, thank you for taking the time to read this. I super appreciate it:))


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Conan Helsley
20:20 Aug 13, 2020

I loved this. That's all there really is to say. There were grammatical errors, but they are easily fixed. The rest is just great.


Saron Mengistu
06:11 Aug 14, 2020

Thank you so much for the kind words. Can you please please point out the errors? They've always been my weak spot. Thanks again;))


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16:25 Aug 11, 2020



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