The Letter

This is a short story I wrote last year. I realized I hadn’t put it up on this site so I decided to fix that.

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He sat at his desk, a pen and blank pad of paper in front of him. He sat and stared at it for what seemed like hours. He knew he was writing a letter, but he wasn’t entirely sure who it was to, or what it was for.

He really didn’t know if he would be missed.

He just sat there, he didn’t know how he was supposed to feel, he just knew he wasn’t supposed to feel this way.

Then… It struck him.

He wasn’t SUPPOSED to feel anything, the very thought he had moments before seemed so foreign now. The feelings that he felt were his, and this was his life after all. He wondered why he hadn’t thought of this before. How could one small shift in thinking change so much? He wasn’t exactly sure how it had happened, he was just glad that it did.

After his epiphany he stood up and went for a walk downtown. The gray skies and light rain somehow made all of the colors outside seem brighter. The rain chased the smog out of the city and brought a new found level of clarity to his mind.

After walking and thinking awhile he looked down and realized he had forgotten his coat, he didn’t care much though, he just wanted to hold onto this feeling for as long as he could.

A short while later he realized that it had suddenly become very dark, and very cold as well. So he began his walk home, mesmerized by the way reflections of passing car’s headlights danced on the wet pavement.

Before he knew it he was home again. He changed into some dry clothes, put the kettle on, and went to his study. As he walked in he saw the pen on his desk sitting beside that same blank pad of paper. It all looked so different now. He straightened up and soon his desk was as clear as his mind. He sat for a moment, trying to think of why he decided to write that letter in the first place, but his thoughts were interrupted by the sound of his kettle whistling. He got up, grabbed a paperback novel off of the shelf, and went to make himself a cup of tea. He decided that the best way to end the day would be to sit with a cup of tea and read a good book, so he did exactly that and it wasn’t long before he fell asleep.

Upon waking the next morning he felt more refreshed than he had in ages, which was especially odd considering the massive knot he had in his neck from sleeping in his armchair. He got up and went to return his book to his study and as he shook the cobwebs of sleep out of his brain the events of the previous evening seemed more and more surreal. He felt as if the man he had been just a few short hours ago was a complete stranger, the distance between him and the man he used to be ever increasing.

He had gotten ready for work and set off to his favorite diner for breakfast. He sat down at the counter and ordered the usual and he noticed the most beautiful woman he had ever seen from across the room. He had to get going (he wouldn’t want to be late for work) but he paid for her meal before he left, hoping he would see her again.

Three short days later his wish came true, he saw her at breakfast but this time was different. Once he caught her eye from across the room she walked over and sat next to him. They sat in an awkward silence for a bit, a silence which she broke by thanking him for breakfast the other day. He shrugged it off, trying to play it cool and started a conversation with her. They hit it off and had a great breakfast when suddenly he realized he was late for work. He hurried out the door and she quickly followed. She handed him a napkin with her number scribbled on it and asked when they could see each other again. He invited her over for dinner that night and she eagerly accepted.

That night she arrived at his flat a bit early so he told her to make herself right at home while he finished cooking dinner. While she was looking around she noticed the door to his study was open so she wen inside. It was quite an average looking study, a nice but not overly lavish desk and chair sat beside the window and there were bookcases lining two of the walls. Only one thing about the room really stood out to her. On the wall above the desk and next to the window hung a frame holding a blank sheet of lined paper. She was puzzled, she wondered what it could be for. She stood there, silently in thought, for longer than she realized. He poked his head in the room and said hello, derailing her train of thought, and let her know that dinner was ready.

As they sat down to eat she asked him about the paper, she had to know what it was for.

“Oh that?” he replied “I keep that as a reminder of what something that happened what feels like a lifetime ago.”

Suddenly he was very glad that no one had to read that letter.

© Michael McKenzie 2015

Missing Connection

Life has felt awfully bleak lately.

I’m usually the type with a “Keep on trucking” attitude. It took me way longer to stop and wonder why I’ve felt that way than it should have.

I think after giving it some thought this last weekend though I’ve cracked the case.

Missed connections.

something so simple yet so complex.

I’ve been lacking connection. How have I missed it for so long?

Sure I hang out with people, and I even go out of my way to talk to people I don’t know when I’m feeling extra social.

But maybe talking to people just isn’t enough.

I’ve been listening to my records a lot lately and all I can think about is back when I would have friends over just to sit and listen with me. That was really special. We would just sit and listen without having to say a word. It wouldn’t be awkward because we could just let ourselves be. Nothing mattered other than the fact that we were with each other and we had our music.

I know how cheesy that sounds, but it really meant a lot to me.

When I was really sick I had a few close friends that would come and visit me. I didn’t feel like talking so we wouldn’t talk much. Mostly just sit in the same room, sometimes watch movies, sometimes just listen to music, but mostly just be together.

A lot has changed since those days. The song Rivers and Roads by The Head and the Heart comes to mind. All my friends are gone away. Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of great friends, but we’re just lacking the connections that my friends and I once had.

Maybe it’s wrong to look back to when times were different and think they were better, but I can’t seem to keep myself from thinking that way.

Lately I’ve been wishing a lot that I could go back to being a kid when connecting with people came so easily. The times when you would be on the playground and make friends with someone and five minutes later you can tell each other anything.

People I can trust with everything are harder to find these days. Maybe that’s because I’m more complex, or maybe it’s because I’m less trusting than I used to be. but whatever it is, I need to find someone like that soon.

This hasn’t really been much to read so if you got through it I applaud you.
I just felt like something had to be said and identifying the problem and making it visible for me has really helped me make a plan to overcome it so maybe it’ll help one of you.

-Michael