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Rated: ASR · Fiction · Inspirational · #610563
A tragic short story, something for everyone to relate to in some way....

Thirty years of misery, thirty years without self-respect. Thirty years. But it’s nearly over.

Soon I can retire. At least I can say that financially I have been ok, I can retire at fifty years old after all and not many can say that can they? But has it all been worth it?

I sold my soul to the company devil so that I could provide a decent life for my family. My family, yes that’s right, that’s why I did it. That’s why I have toiled in that sweatshop for thirty years.

Nightshifts are not the most pleasant part of the human experience I can tell you. But its all been worth it. I put both my kids through university and set them up with their first cars and homes. I mean, where else would I have earned £30,000 a year without a single qualification to my name? Of course, I could have gone back to college or something but this was easier.

I must admit, it would have been nice to see my children grown up into the fine adults that they are today. Not that I see much of them though, much like when they were young really. I was always at work or in bed. I worked the weekends too, did I mention that?

How could I have known my good lady was having a torrid affair with the man from up the road? I mean, I was never there. No surprise she left me really. Twenty-two years was a bit of a waste I suppose.

I always thought I would be able to cope with the sacrifices I had made in order to do the manly thing and provide. I remember my little girl’s second birthday. It was so nice for us all. I was off work for a change, we had a little party with a few of her little friends from nursery and a glorious party cake. I didn’t get to be around for many of my children’s birthdays, but I had to pay for them right? I had to go out and earn the cash to get them whatever it was they wanted. Would have been nice to see my children grow up. I was always busy.

Oh well, it’s nearly over now, I have a great pension fund and can retire in relative luxury. Would have been nice if I hadn’t lost my wife to the neighbour and we could have shared our twilight years together without any worries.

The mortgage is paid off and everything now, the place is a bit big though just for me. I ought to downsize really, it would make sense. I don’t need all this space. But so many memories. Then again so few. It’s not like my children or grandchildren come and visit me or anything. I don’t really know them anyway and it is always a bit awkward when we do run into each other at the odd funeral.

Oh I wish I could have shared more. Maybe things would be different now, maybe we would all be together. We wouldn’t be as comfortable though, so I guess I would be wrong to want to change things anyway, wouldn’t I?

Still, it would have been nice to change just a few small things.

Oh well, at least I will be comfortably off next year when I finish work. Nobody to share it though. Would have been nice, but I don’t mind really. I amuse myself well enough. I go out birdwatching whenever I get the opportunity, I have always enjoyed that. Never took the family though, that would have been nice.

I can’t remember when I got here, or even how, but I do hope they come back soon. I should be at work in an hour. Don’t want to miss a shift, especially if I am going to retire soon.

It’s just so plain in here. So bright and plain. Some nice pictures would make all the difference. Yes a nice portrait of a kestrel or a sparrowhawk. That would be nice, break up the walls a bit. It all looks the same. All white. White light. I want to smash the light. It is bright and hurts my eyes. There is no switch, but even if there was I could not reach it from here. Not unless they unstrap my arms so I can get off this bloody bed.

I don’t suppose anybody cares enough to come and see me. I have been here for what seems like an age now, a visitor would be nice. Perhaps if I ask the doctor, he might be able to arrange for my family to come and visit. Maybe we could catch up a bit, make up for lost time. Maybe not, I don’t know how to get in touch. My own family and I don’t know a single telephone number.

So I am reduced to this. Lying helpless in a hospital bed amid accusations about my sanity. I didn’t mean to do it. The idiot should have known better than to get in my way, especially when I have been on nights. Would have been better if he wasn’t a copper too, but that’s life. I suppose that goes for a lot of things…would have been nice, but that’s life.

© Copyright 2003 Mark James Short (markshort at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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