Melancholia Fragments of a life - past and present

Life Preserve

I've lost track of how long I've been here. Months? Maybe even years. I was expecting others to arrive by now but nothing has broken the monotony of my loneliness. The radio went out a few weeks ago. I think the batteries are dead.

The nights are so long here in winter. The daylight is fleeting. I talk aloud to myself to stay sane. I'm barely awake but I can't sleep.

I met a taxi driver once. He told me he had seen a ghost in this building. I don't doubt it. I wish I'd seen it myself. It would be a welcome distraction. These days I find myself looking for ways to forget certain things.

One thing I try not to forget though is the time I took my kids to the harbor one summer afternoon. They were little back then and we all had fish and chips. We laughed a lot and watched the big ships come in. I was a proud father. It was a great day.

As time passes, that memory is beginning to fade. The colors are slowly draining and voices are becoming distant echoes. Losing it completely is my single greatest fear.

In a Small Coastal Town

I decided to get up early one bleak morning and just walk with no particular destination in mind. I had been cooped up inside for the best part of a week.

It had rained all night and potholes overflowed with oily water. The town looked desolate.

I passed a man standing in the shadows. We didn't acknowledge each other, his face was obscured by the brim of his hat. He made me uneasy and I quickened my pace. I heard a loud crash but didn't look back.

The wind was biting and I hadn't dressed accordingly. I turned back towards home, being careful to cross to the other side of the street. Up ahead, someone was rushing to work, his silhouette reflecting perfectly in an ephemeral pond.

I worked at that same factory for forty years and was glad to be retired, free from the stench of fish.

When I arrived home, there was a handwritten note stuck to my door. It simply read "Car battery dead. Gone to get help."

I looked around but saw no one. This was obviously a mistake. I don't even own a car anymore.


Arriving at the church, I felt a deep sadness. The memory of my wife's sudden departure was overwhelming. I thought it would get easier. It didn't. She was everything I had. The lights went out that day and it's been dark ever since.

Standing there for a long time, I felt numb. A breeze meandered through the flowers and birds chirped on the church roof but the silence of my profound loss absorbed everything. I tried screaming in vain through my paralysis.

I fell to the ground in an utter panic. My heart thumped in my head. I laid there for what seemed like an eternity. I stared at the passing clouds and finally devised a way to see her again.

I closed my eyes and felt a brief sharp pain followed by something I hadn't experienced in a long time... tranquility. My heart slowed until it came to a complete stop.

I opened my eyes and noticed silk curtains swaying gently by an open window. The sun streamed in and it felt warm on my skin. I sat up and saw her fingers wrapped around the white door frame. Her voice whispered my name.

I took her hand and we disappeared into a familiar room.


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Created By
Steven Dempsey

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