Here’s something I wrote at writers’ group last week. It’s a little bleak, but I thought I’d share it anyway. Would love to know people’s thoughts!
He didn’t want to go out on such a night but if he didn’t leave now, his head was sure to explode. The twins next door were both screaming to be fed and the dog in the apartment on the other side was howling in sympathy.
Gerald’s could feel his brain melting out his ears. He grabbed his coat and headed into the rain, just trying to get a little respite from the overwhelming noise in his tiny flat.
He didn’t ask for much in life. A quiet night on the one weekend a month he wasn’t working overtime was all he really needed. Six hours of uninterrupted sleep would have been worth all of the money his extra shifts were pulling in.
You can’t put a price on peace of mind. That’s what his mum always used to say. God, he missed her. Gerald didn’t think he was built for being alone.
Part of him wished he’d kept the house. It would mean he wouldn’t have to be dealing with paper-thin walls now, but he couldn’t justify keeping on such a big place just for himself.
Life after his mum was gone wasn’t the same. Existence was hollow. Maybe that made him sound weak, or pathetic, but he didn’t care. It didn’t change the fact that life for Gerald without his mother wasn’t really life.
He worked in a job he hated just for something to do. He came home to sleep – or try to sleep – because he physically needed to. But he didn’t want to do anything anymore.
Gerald’s mother had been a rudder in his life. Now he was adrift. No other family. No qualifications. No hope. And a blinding headache.
He hadn’t cried.
Some part of Gerald realized that he’d feel better if he just let go and gave into his emotions, but he was scared of them swallowing him whole. If he started crying, he didn’t think he’d be able to stop. That would be worse. It was all worse. There had to be a better plan than just being sad for the rest of time, right?
Gerald’s caseworker said he had a bad attitude.
“Sure,” he’d replied. Because that much was already obvious. “What do I do, though?”
She told him it wasn’t her job to offer solutions, so he didn’t go back.
He walked to the end of the block, turned for home, then thought better of it. He kept walking.
He didn’t go back.
He didn’t go back.