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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2046226-True-happiness
by brom21
Rated: ASR · Short Story · Emotional · #2046226
A man is robbed of all technolgy causing him to rethink what it means to truly be happy.
        Trent slammed his fist on the arm of his couch. He got up and went to a window.

        “Eh, stupid power outage, and it right on my day off! It’s only eight-thirty in the morning. I hope it gets fixed in time for the morning stock reports. I’m hungry; I feel like…Oh crap, no electricity for eggs and bacon!”

         “No PS3, no computer, no phone. This is torture.”

         Trent sat down and pondered his situation. “I can’t imagine how people lived in the 1800s.”

         “I know, I’ll go for a drive to the park.”

         The man picked up his keys walked out the door and locked it. He entered his Mercedes and started up the engine. The news was on the radio.

         Well listeners, it looks like we will have to deal with the power problem for at least another twenty four hours. In the meantime, we are all suggested to take part in recreational activities while the outage is in effect. Back up generators are keeping power essential devices on like hospitals. We will keep you posted as things progress.

         Trent cursed and banged his palms on his steering wheel.

         “Another day!?”

         He pulled into the park lot and stopped his car then got out. He took a deep breath.

         “Ah, at least there is fresh air,” he said as he walked on the cement path. People on bicycles and walking pedestrians waved at him and Trent returned the gestures. Then he saw something that caught his attention. A young man in his twenties in torn and tattered clothing was sitting against a tree with a sign reading “Please help me. God bless.”

         “Hmm, how unfortunate. It must really stink not to have…”

         Trent looked down. “I wonder when the last time that person slept in a warm heated house out of the cold. Well, it is what it is.”

         He walked on and passed by a chapel where people were just coming out with beaming faces. An old lady approached him.

“Hello sir, how are you?”

“Not so good with our little predicament as most people are feelings I suspect.”

“Oh, that is not so true. I live in a home with no TV, radio or other electrical things. Jesus is what makes me happy. Think about what it was like in Biblical times. They had friends, family, nature and God to suffice them.”

         “I could not live in those days. I’d die of boredom.”

         “What would you do if this situation was permanent? Would you kill yourself?”

         “You’re getting way too deep. Have a good day,” Trent said as he walked away.

         He sat on a bench and looked around. He saw a young couple nestled next to each other on a bench across from them. Trent looked longingly at the two.

         “I wish I had the heart to ask a woman out on a date. They seem so happy and so did that old lady.”

         He rubbed his hands together and looked at his feet. Then a man in a grey suit sat next to him.

         “You seem to have something heavy on your mind. Would you like to talk about it?” the stranger asked.

         “Not really.”

         “I have a knack for reading people. You’re contemplating true happiness.”

         Trent looked up. “Why do you say that?” he said as he peered at the man in surprise.

         “Am I right?”

         “I suppose so.”

         “I can also tell that you’re a rich man who has spent his whole life looking for true happiness in material things.”

        “Who are you?” Trent asked. He felt like the man was exposing his very heart.

        “This is my job. What would you do if you were in the place of that young man with the sign you saw?”

        At this point, Trent stood up and raised his voice at him in alarm.

        “Have you been stalking me or something?”

        The man simply smiled and shook his head.

      “Not at all, calm down.”

      “The stranger’s tone disarmed Trent’s shock. He sat back down.

                “You seem normal enough. Not that I believe in it, but are you psychic?”

         “No, but before I go I want you to ask yourself, what if all technology and money was done away with, what would happen to you?”

         “I…” Trent thought for a moment. “I don’t know,” he said as he looked away.

         “Seek to answer that question. Goodbye.”

         Trent turned around but the man was gone. In his place was a small black Bible with a sticky note that read Start with this.

         Trent opened it, and the page happened to be addressing the vainness of riches. 

         He read silently and it seemed as though a covering had come off his eyes and his heart was opened to a new world. After thirty minutes he got up and went back to the young man with the sign.

         “Let me take you to a homeless shelter.”

         “I’ve tried, but there is a long waiting list.”

         Trent smiled compassionately and spoke. “Then I’ll take you to a motel.”

         The man stood up with joy.

         “Thank you! I’ve been living in this park for two weeks.”

         “Follow me,” Trent said as he led him to his car and drove off. Trent listened to the man, whose name was Max, about his life and how he was laid off from his job and that he had no family or friend to help him. They arrived and went into a Comfort Inn where Trent paid the clerk for Max to stay.

         “I cannot thank you enough. I wish more people were like you.”

         “It is my pleasure.”

         Trent was about to exit, then he stopped and turned around.

         “How would you like a desk job where I work? There is an opening.”

         “Really? I’d love to work with you.”

         For the first time in a long while Trent was more satisfied then all the money or all the technology he could hope for.   





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