The story of a deeply sad, troubled man and the life he lives.
|The man stood at the edge of the large boat rail all alone with his feelings as blue as the water before him. A tear ran down his cheek as he shook his head slightly with trembling lips. A woman in a T-shirt and pants noticed him. She went to his side and addressed the sad soul.
“Excuse me sir, but why you are so sad on such a wonderful day?” she said gently.
The man stood unchanged as he stared into the sea. He spoke reluctantly without looking at her.
“Why are you so happy?”
The woman frowned with a blank face and wide eyes at the unexpected deep question.
“I don’t know really. I’ve never asked myself that question. I guess I would say just to exist and the freedom to live to the fullest.” She said smiling at her own comment before it faded into a straight, unmoving face at his lack of empathy with her thinking.
The woman took a deep breath and licked her lips before asking him a deep, prying question in return.
“Why are you so unhappy? Look at the beauty around you?, the clouds, the deep peaceful blue sea, and all the seagulls. There has to be something that gives you joy.”
Then the man looked at her. “What you feel is all in your mind. The sea is just a big collection of water with things that evolved from genetic goo. The clouds are just collections of dust with frosted water around them.”
The woman looked down in defeat. “I see you are set in your ways sir. I hope you will see the light someday.” She put her hand on his shoulder briefly then walked away. As she strolled along the top deck, a voice of a man addressed her from her right.
“So you just had a conversation with old Blue Dude huh?”
“Excuse me?” the woman replied.
“That man you just talked to. That’s what I and my buddies call him. All of us have tried to break the ice and get him to just talk about anything but he just shoots it down with depressed remarks. He is always by himself. You could not make him happy if you gave him a million dollars.”
The woman tilted her head and raised an eyebrow. “If nothing makes him happy, why did he choose to go on a cruise?”
“Maybe he wants to be around the least amount of people as possible or perhaps it’s the commotion of the city. He probably desires solitude.”
As the cruise ended, the boarders walked over the bridge onto the dock. The sad man trudged down the ramp and was so overwhelmed with his sorrow he could barely keep his eyes open that were tired with dejection. As people passed him, he noticed a child who was crying. It was sobering to see a being in sync with the true state of life. His heart was like a stone but the child’s tears gave him a little complacency. It made him feel less alone with his feelings. He walked on with his back slouched, his head down and his arms limp. He took a right turn down to the side of a park that led to the cemetery. Under a large tent a funeral was being held. The sad man lifted his head and gazed a few moments at the gathering before deciding to join the mourning people. From looking at the small casket, the meeting was for the passing of a child. Then feelings began to well up in his stomach. He was a stranger to all of the people and the deceased yet he felt a sense of grief. He began to sob and his bottom lip started to curl. It was like a symphony of sweet despair and the man was moved with every note of weeping and tear drops.
“Then his heart felt an emotion that gripped him. The man felt for the child. It was a feeling of empathy and regret that drove him to approach the casket and touch it. Tears ran down his face and felt a bond with the lamenting souls. Next the call for people to speak on behalf of the departed was announced by the clergy man in a black outfit and a white collar. Before anyone else could go to the small scaffold, the man felt a yearning to release his sorrow. When he walked onto it, he wiped his tears on his hand and spoke his heart.
“Hello. None of you know me, but I am a man who can empathize with you all. The grief you all feel for this young one is like that which I live from day to day. The tears I see are a testimony of this lost and soulless world. The ultimate destiny for all of us is this child’s fate. Yet it is because of love that we all cry. Remember this dark day for it is the end of all things.”
He stood there motionless, observing the stark expressions. He turned about and walked away leaving the people forlorn and at a loss. As he made his way home he was addressed by a familiar voice behind him. It was female and as he turned around he saw it as the woman from the boat.
“Hello there, do you remember me? We talked briefly on the boat cruise.”
“I do. How are you this evening?” said the man.
“I was just in my way to have lunch at the Corner Café and I was wondering if you would join me, my treat.”
The man sighed and ran the palm of his hand down his face. With an exasperated tightness in his stomach, he threw up his arms and agreed. “Very well.”
“Good. Oh, and I’m Trish. Who are you?”
“My name is Neil.”
The café was just a block away. During the short walk there, Trish was early to begin sharing about herself.”
“I’ve lived here in San Francisco for ten years and I love it. Some people complain about the cost of living here but I don’t think so. Where about do you live?”
Neil jolted his head at Trish. “I live on Straight Street, a few blocks from here. Why do you ask?”
“Just curious,” she answered.
When they reached the café, Neil opened the door for Trish which made her smile. They sat down at a booth, and a waitress came to them with menus.
Trish was looking over the house burger selections. Neil however glanced at the menu with his eyes half open and quickly put it down.
“You don’t see anything you like?”
Neil folded his hands and put them to his chin and studied the cheerful woman across from him. Her demeanor was so alien to him. “I’m not particular about what I eat. You choose something for me.”
Trish paused shortly before talking. “Oh…okay. I’ll order you the same thing I am having, the bacon burger combo.”
The waitress returned to their table. “Hello you two, what would you like?” she said.
“Two bacon burger combos.”
“Coming right up.”
Neil looked around the café. At one table full of guests, a few employees were singing happy birthday for a young girl that looked to be in her twenties. When they were finished they all broke out in applause. A radiant smile was on her face which was red with embarrassment and delight. A couple booths down from Trish and Neil, a group of Japanese men in suites where conversing loudly and laughing. It all made Neil sick to his stomach.
Trish saw the discomfort in his face and asked what was wrong.
“Neil, your face is pale, what is the matter?”
The distraught man bent his head down and gripped his scalp.
“I don’t understand. I wish I could relate and have delightful conversation like everyone else in the café, but it is just bunch of idle notions without meaning. Why are you so happy?” Neil suddenly stood up and yelled in frustration. “Why is everyone so happy!” Neil was breathing heavily with clenched fists.
All eyes were fixed on him and Trish lowered her face into her hands. Neil realized his outburst and quickly sat down and shook his head. “I can’t stay here, I’m sorry Trish,” he said as he slid out of the booth and trudged out. Trish followed after him out onto the busy sidewalk.
“Neil, wait! I care about you!”
Neil stopped at those words that came behind him. “You do not realize what you’re saying Trish. This is how I am. I take no pleasure in myself and much less others. I could not return the benevolent friendship you want with me. I do not have the soul that you have. I’ve always been called sad, blue, dejected or other names. You cannot relate to me. If you felt what I feel, your heart would be broken.”
Trish walked closer to him and pleaded. “But you can change. Right now you are in dark tunnel, but there is light at the end of it and if you would just reach out, you would see the beauty that lays there.”
Both of them stood there in silence as the wind ruffled Trish’s short, light brown hair. When she stood before him, she reached into a burgundy leather purse and took out a note pad and pen and wrote something.
“Here is my number; just in case you have any second thoughts. I hope to hear from you.” She gave him a hug and sulked away in tears.
Then Neil felt anger, not at the pretty, kind woman who had just left him, but at himself. “How could I push away the only person to try to understand me and have concern for my feelings? I just don’t want to hurt her. I could never divulge all the sadness and grief I have for the world to her. It would destroy her.”
He was about to rip up her number but he was filled with a strange uncertainty, as though his soul was speaking to him; questioning him. Neil put it in his pocket and walked home. As soon as he was in his apartment, he fell on the couch and clicked on the TV. A fair-faced blond anchorman was telling about a fatal car crash that occurred twenty minutes ago.
“How can people be so happy with all this that goes on in life? That is the way things are though; no denying it.” Neil was exhausted and fell asleep with the TV on. That night he had a dream. He was on a lake side with many row boats. On the other side of the lake, there was a meadow that shined with a light almost as bright as the sun. Dozens of people were boarding them that had names etched onto the sides of each boat. A few boats down, Neil was surprised to see a boat that bore Trish’s name it. There approaching it was Trish herself. Then he frowned as he looked upon his boat; it was splintered and had planks of wood missing. His name was scratched into it, barely legible. He looked as Trish happily scuffled onto her boat as did the rest of the people on the lake shore. The people rowed with eagerness until little by little they each met the bright paradise of gleaming trees.
Neil saw that his boat would not make it very far in its tattered state. He hesitated to try and cross the lake. At best it would reach the middle of the lake. Then he felt a foreign sense of hope as he looked and saw Trish floating out in the lake with her hand held out for him to come to her. Like he realized before, it was certain it would go so far until it would submerge into the water.
“Will I stay afloat long enough to reach her? I must try to meet her half way in the water, even if I could sink while trying.”
Just as he was about to step onto his thrashed vessel he awoke.
With the dream still fresh in his mind, he looked at his clock.”
“Ten-thirty,” he said. Neil reached into his pocket and pulled out Trish’s number. He was about to pick up the phone but stopped for a moment. He rubbed the tips of his fingers and took a breath. He closed his eyes and pressed his lips. He whispered to himself. “Half way, I just have to go half way. I can do this.”
He flipped his eyes open and quickly punched in her number. It rung once…twice… a third time and the soft, vibrant coo of Trish’s voice came from the phone. “Hello?”
“Uh… Trish, it’s me.”
An explosion of delight rang in his ear. “Neil! You called. How are you?”
“This may sound crazy, but I had a dream last night and it really made me wonder. I’ve never had such a dream.”
Neil hastily recited the brief dream to her. “What do you think it means?” he asked.
“I think it means to trust and have faith to go as far as you can go and that you will get help along the way. Strange, I prayed last night that God would open your eyes and show you the way to happiness. I guess He did.”
“And it looks like he chose you Trish.”
“Maybe Neil; how would you like to take a walk to the park with me?”
Neil sat in contemplation. His first impulse was to push her away. Then he felt a peace as he thought of his dream and the words of Trish. “I’ll meet you there.” He said cheerfully.
The walk in the park was the first of many outings and experiences that would shed light into his world. Later he would meet friends of Trish that filled his heart with new-found joy and social pleasures. He would go to the movies and enjoy hot buttery popcorn. Little by little his cold, blue heart was filled with life and peace. He would walk into flower stores an inhale the robust, invigorating scent of the lilies and roses. The whole way through, Trish was at his side to spurn him onto further blessings that the good Lord had made.
It happened one sunny morning that Trish called him. “Hey what’s up?”
“Not much. What are you up to?”
“I was wondering if we could chill out at the bridge that goes over the river that runs through the park,” Trish said boisterously.
“Sure, I’ll meet you there.”
Neil hung up the phone, put on a dress shirt and some black slacks then walked out the door. He strolled with a smile on his face and admired the beautiful color of the birds and their singing as he went. As he neared the park, there were police cars with flashing lights and tape that surrounded the area of the very bridge that he was to talk with Trish. He sprinted to a placeman and asked what had happened.
“Officer, what has happened here?”
“A woman was stabbed in the chest by a thief who made off with her purse. Now please step back.” The officer commanded.
“Where is she now?” Before the policeman could respond, Neil saw a single tarp covered body being hauled into a grey van. He burst into the direction of the van and broke through the tape and the personal around it. He lifted the tarp and his soul writhed inside him in agony and grief.
“Noo! Oh God why! How did this happen!” He fell to his knees and the authorities grabbed him by the arms and pulled his back as he cried swelling tears.
The pale lifeless face of Trish stuck in his mind and he felt anger coalesce until he became bitter and callous towards the one who had killed her. “Whoever did this will pay.” Then he recalled the days when he felt as he did now and how far he had come. He took a breath and composed himself.
“Being angry will only harm me. I’ll live without the rage but not the longing. I will remember all the good times we had and go on to honor her death. Oh, how I wish you were with me. I owe everything to you my dear friend. May the angels of God and God Himself keep you forever.”
Word Count:2,758 Prompt: Write a story based on the lyrics of a real world song. Song: Blue by Eifel 65