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Wishing you well, Joe Holloway

by crystaline 

Posted: 31 July 2003
Word Count: 939

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There he was, a man Iíd never seen before, sitting on a pasty chair angled by a porthole in an old folkís home. Silence and tranquility inhabited the room and it seemed like the windows had been closed for a hundred years with a musty stale stench prowling throughout its capacity. Dull-colored draperies that stretched out for miles thwarted the entrance of the radiant sunlight and the shadows of waving nearby trees. The feeble old man appeared to be having an agitating spat with an imaginary companion as he tackled an empty seat and mumbled some profanity. With a baffled look on his face, he stood up without the use of his cane and at a snail's pace walked over to where I had momentarily planted my feet. He looked like he was about to say something when some steps away from me, arriving to his fate, the staggering old man stumbled, landing on his small brittle head. I tried hindering his fall but it was too late as a pool of blood instantly poured out in front of me. The brightly lit room had now turned gory red with darkness capturing the light shining in from the stained glass windows. And like a lifeless yellow leaf in autumn, he sprawled next to my feet as I screamed out for help.
A sudden uproar and chaos exploded when a circle of hysterical patients panicked and radically overstressed shrieking whimpers of fear. The old man looked at me with his eyes wide open and gasped for his last breath while I held his head on my lap. In an attempt to stop the bleeding, I maintained pressure on his wounds with my bare hands and continued to cry out for help. Three men wearing blue uniforms dashed into the room in an effort to recover him but the old manís depleted time had expired. Drenched in the manís blood and my tears, I removed myself from the turbulent mess as they lifted him onto a gurney and hauled him away. Frightened and confused, I stayed behind watching him from a distance.
Who was he? My puzzled imagination still wondered who was that strange old man and what was he trying to tell me. Did he know me? Itís impossible that he did for Iím not even bona fide. I feel like my heart has been replaced with an empty cardboard box and my soul silently snatched away from my body. My face appears abstract fading away elusively in the mirror. Besides, no one has the faintest clue of my where abouts. I came here without telling any friends or family, except for my son James, whom Iím hoping wonít say anything. I didnít want anyone to worry about me or worse be ashamed of me. This is a secret I will take with me to my second grave when I die again.
See, I admitted myself to this place about three weeks ago because I knew I desperately needed help. I felt the blood in my veins had stopped flowing and my lost soul entrapped in a world of bewilderment. My disorientated frame of mind suffered with the reality that I failed to recognize. The person I had once known, no longer existed and I struggled to minimize that reflection to the rest of the world.
Challenges have always overflowed my life from my young childhood days to the present time. But, I have never once considered the idea of giving up until now. I had always been a strong-minded man and determined to prevail over any obstacles that would impede my path. Iíve never feared anything but fear itself but now I fear Iím losing my mind. That is why I came here. I want to retake control of my sense of being. I want to be the stress-free person that would look forward to waking up in the morning, waking up to cream and sugar instead of salt and vinegar. I want to persevere the way I used to and not have to wrestle with life tomorrow.
I began to perceive changes in myself about two years ago.
At first, I felt a little blue here and there. Gradually, over time, I felt even more hopeless and worthless and believed that maybe the world would be better off without me. Overwhelming sleepless nights kept me on edge, making my days insupportable and the food I use to devour, no longer had taste. Decaying weeds replaced the yellow sunflowers that once grew in my garden and the sun became a thing of the past for clouds relentlessly wandered above my home. Sometimes, Iíd wake up late in the afternoon only to sit in my dusty red recliner all day long with nothing to do. Itís not that I had nothing to do; itís just that I lacked motivation. I use to enjoy an array of things. I use to grow apple and peach trees, plant all kinds of flowers in the garden, and grow my own tomatoes but now, I canít even take care of myself much less a garden.
I realize now, I should continue living my life at least until fate catches up with me. I must focus on what I do have and not on what is gone. But like dangling bats that only come out at night, I feel useless with no real purpose to serve in life. My only true purpose has been pulled from underneath me, leaving me with little or no optimism. But now that Iíve taken my first step by seeking help, Iím ready to fight this horrible battle against depression.

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Comments by other Members

Anna Reynolds at 12:54 on 14 August 2003  Report this post
I found this very intriguing. The title sucked me in for a start. And the intensely dramatic nature of the death, followed by the line 'This is a secret I will take with me to my second grave when I die again.' I got slightly confused at this point- is this referring to a real death or the death a character might feel due to depression? I felt a growing sense that the character was dead, a ghost, a lingering presence that permeates the air, disturbs other people but they can't actually see or hear. All of which really worked well for me; you've created an unusual atmopshere and sense of tension. The last paragraph slightly works against that, though, and I wondered if that's because this is part of a longer piece or a novel, or if you've a sense of where it might be going now?

old friend at 17:53 on 11 September 2003  Report this post
I found this a charming but sad piece. It is very well-written but do have a look at splitting up the first paragraph into several paragraphs. This needs to have a controlled 'pace', and punctuation and paragraphs can do this for you (and the reader).

The monologue style is used by quite a few of the people on the site. This is one of the easiest of styles but one of the most difficult to do really well. If you read this to yourself in front of a mirroe you will find that you use your eyes, your face, your body and your voice to introduce 'variety' into the work. This is the challenge, to do all this simply through the written word.

You must write more and more and...

old friend, Len

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