Such sweet sorrow – Part 1

The milk in the carton was sour. He went through to the lounge and put his coffee on the table. It was after eight and his cleaner had just taken over the kitchen to clean up the mess. He sat for a long time listening to the rain on the window, sipping his drink and staring into space. He had been awake since six, but hadn’t wanted to get out of bed until the cleaner had knocked at the front door.

He was alone now, struggling, trying to work out his next move. After he left Her apartment he had waited for a time in the car, a hand on his pounding heart. He had wanted to go back up, to explain everything, but the shock and the pain in his chest made him so angry all he could do was drive away, almost knocking over a man standing on the sidewalk waiting to cross the road. That was just over three days ago. To Him it seemed like it had only just happened.

Three days. They were stacked against him like the dirty dishes in the sink. On Tuesday, exactly one day after everything had fallen apart, he had called her mobile, getting no answer. The sound of her phone ringing, simply mechanical, made him feel like he had been turned inside out. He had put down the phone without a word, and regretted it instantly. Maybe she was waiting for his call. Maybe she wasn’t near the phone. Maybe he only had to wait for her to pick up the phone.

He dialled again, his hand shaking. “Hey, this is me.” No answer. He had so expected her to pick up the phone that the repeated tone threw him completely. As always, when unsure of himself he tried to be funny.

“So. You don’t want to answer. There are only three possible explanations for this: either, one, you are not there; two, you are there but don’t want to speak to me; or three, you are there, desperately want to speak to me, but are trapped under something heavy in your office and can’t reach the phone.”

Then it seemed to him that his tone was all wrong, although he was only speaking to himself. She knew he could be funny. He had to prove to her that he could be serious; honest. He had slammed down the phone, cursing his own stupidity.

Since then he had tried to avoid the phone. It made him angry to think that even though he had left a few missed calls she still wouldn’t call him. It seemed to show how little she felt for him. How little she trusted him. Staring out at the driving rain, he brought the cup to his lips, his mind drifting back over the time they had spent together. How could she believe, after the times they’d had, that all he wanted was to play games and treat her like shit? He sipped at his coffee. He was ready to forget the whole thing.

He stood up and walked around the lounge. He switched to BBC news and watched. There was a shot of the bombings in Gaza with an Arab man screaming into the camera. He switched it off.

He put on his green jacket, pulled up the hood and went out into the rain. He didn’t know where he was going and he didn’t care as long as it got him away from the house and his thoughts.

At nine o’clock he was back in front of the window, looking out at the dead morning light, a cold cup of coffee in his hands.

He stood up and walked around the house, switched on the TV without turning up the sound. He watched the images for a while. Then he walked over to the long mirror hanging on his bedroom wall. He looked at himself. He hadn’t shaved for days. He closed his eyes. Then he opened them again, squinting at the reflection.

“You look about ready to jump,” he said, smiling nervously. Then, exhaling noisily he went to the computer and opened a new email. Her recorded address. It looked vulnerable, far away.

“Hey, this is Me.”

“Like they say in the films – I’m losing altitude. No, don’t worry, I’m not gonna crack a joke. I just wanted … I have to see you, my love. It may seem impossible from where you are, but that morning, the way things looked, it was all wrong. I just wanted to find out … oh, hell.”

He pushed the screen away, as though he might see her there, reduced, looking back at him.

“Listen, it’s too complicated to explain over email. We have to – I have to see you.”

He pressed the send button and looked across at the TV screen. A young woman was talking into the camera, looking out at him and smiling, but he couldn’t hear her voice.

14 Replies to “Such sweet sorrow – Part 1”

  1. when can we expect Part 2 of this ongoing saga? Turns out that men don’t need both feet after all if the constant shooting of one’s foot is anything to go by.

  2. dude whats there to comment on/critique…
    u feel like shit…
    cool…
    u are in pain…
    cool…
    animals in pain usual get the lead pill treatment…
    I can recomend a good delivery method…

  3. ok then…
    since this is a story let me add my 2 cents to it

    He stares blankly into the distance at the mute television waiting for the familiar sound of ‘you got mail’. He is roused from his semi trance by insesent knocking at his door.

    His heart skips a beat, could it be her. Did she get his mail. Has she come to see him. Leaping over the couch he dashes to open his door to see.

    His mates in a half drunken state holding a couple of six packs. They wave away his feeble protests of wanting to be alone and charging past the make themselves comfortable in his living room.

    The room is filled with the usual sounds of reverie as they turn up the volume on his television and switch to the sport channel. Then one by one his boy stop talking and stare at him… the pale shadow of a man he has become. One of then gets up and looks him straight in the eye.

    He offers this pearl of drunken wisdom. “dude if you love something, let it go. if it comes back to you then it’s yours. If not then it never was. now have a beer and stop worrying about the fickle heart of a woman”.

    He looks at his mate in disbelief does he not know how much he suffer’s for her… how he pines for her…
    He looks sideways into the long mirror hanging in the passageway, gone is the proud young man who broke hearts… all that remains is the shattered husk of the man that once was.

    looking away from that depressing sight he grabs the beer offered to him and he lets its bitter sweet nectar pour down his parched throat and he releases himself into its cold warm embrace.

  4. For what its worth i like it! I have one question though- What did the brother do to her that made him feel so bad (guilty)??

  5. Longing for women is definitely a renewable resource and probably the deepest mine in literature.

    part 1 does what it should- create tension and anticipation of the inevitable conflict to come between He and She. Everyone empathizes with Him and wants to know how he screwed up and what the consequences will be.

    Part 2 however falls into a trap used so often that bears chuckle when waltzing past it. If you’re going to do dreams, don’t make it simple or a mere excuse for analyzing His mindset. Make it a true journey into the subconscious (absurd, unreal, magical, dark) or at least tell the reader something new which waking life can’t reveal.

    if this is just fiction I’m the Pope.

  6. I should add that while this genre is a deep mine in which to draw from, cliche is what kills those unable to expertly navigate it. Avoid cliche at all costs unless the point of this is to get back with She in real life, in which case load it on- chicks eat that shit up…

  7. Alias is risen, with some of that trenchant commentary he thinks he’s famous for. Bastardo 🙂

    This is a running tale, which like all tales is rooted in reality but spun to entertain. It’s also developing as we go along, and for all I know has barely started.

  8. Like Lazarus mofo.

    Look you asked for critique or commentary. I provide.

    Part 1 was exactly what it should have been. Short choppy Hemingway style description of the immediate surroundings and His inner monologue. Loved it.

    Part 2 would have been really cool if you wrote it from Her perspective. Might be a stretch for you but probably would have worked better than a dream sequence.

  9. Fuck dude, I get it, you love 1 and can’t stand 2. But like any good story, you take the good with the bad, and wait for the rest. Suck it down mofo, suck it down.

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