Must I Always Remember

Must I Always Remember
by Miles Rost

Even with success, the specter of loss hung around his head like a bad cold.

Patrick Dumont was not an unhappy man, by any means. He was charming with all the folks, a man of character and integrity, and even fairly successful with his new business ventures. In all, he should be celebrating his life in great ways.

Yet, alone in his apartment, his head between his knees, he wasn’t even celebrating.

It started earlier in the day. Looking through his finance books, he knew that everything was going alright and that there were not going to be problems for the next couple months. But that nagging feeling was there, telling him “Hey, you’re finances are not as stable as they should be.”

As the day wore on, he got more and more worried. As the worries built, the memories of old days came flooding forth like a raging flood breaching an earthen dam. The more the worries piled on top, the more depressed he became. He took off from work early, and just went straight home.

As he sat in that apartment, head between knees and tears falling down his face, he remembered the many times of worry he had in the past. He heard the words of people telling him that if he didn’t plan for his future, he’d have nothing. That if he wasn’t paying attention, everything would fall around him.

He remembered his family as it came apart in pieces, like a car losing it’s parts as it drove along. His family splitting apart from divorce, his father becoming despondent after losing his job, his younger brother jumping off a high bridge to end his life after getting a failing score on his final test. He even remembered his own loss of the first business he started, a hedge clipping business.

Then there was Hannah. The girl that gave him so much passion, and so much life. He wanted to keep her in his heart always, always having that chance of being able to see her again. That is, until he heard the phone call.

“Patrick, I’m pregnant.”
“Who’s the father?”
“I’m….not sure.”

He screamed out, cried, and put himself into fits while dealing with all of these things that came forth from his head. For 4 straight hours, he was in agony. Four hours of crying, sobbing, screaming into his sweatshirt. It seemed as though he would be crying for many more hours.

Suddenly, he sat up. He dried his eyes, and looked around. He blinked a few times, looking at the fluorescent lights reflecting from the outside window into his apartment, casting glow over shadows. His eyes, even in the dark, cleared up.

“I have no need to remember this.”

His words had steel behind them. It was the sound of determination. Whatever he had just went through was done, and he finally stood up. He smiled, as he put his jacket on.

He was free to enjoy life again. He was free from his pain, his grief, and that feeling of holding onto something.

It was time…for a beer.

 

So Far Away – Friday Fictioneers

Welcome back for another Friday Fictioneers set. If you haven’t already read the latest (and according to some, my best) Mayumi story so far, please go check out “We All Sleep Alone

*Author’s Note: Some have been having trouble seeing the video. If you are having trouble, go to Youtube, and look up “So Far Away” by Dire Straits. You’ll get the feelin’.

copyright Jan Wayne Fields

So Far Away

by Miles Rost

Everything was ready on the table.

Danny got home from work, and expertly prepared a beautiful crown roast of lamb, with mint sauce, lightly fried potatoes, and thin-sliced green beans. All of her favorites.

He set the table with the good plates, the excellent glasses, and everything. His crowning achievement of making dinner, a big one, was complete.

He looked out the window towards the street, the patio bereft of life. He looked out the window for a long time.

It was after about 30 minutes of looking that he realized he was eating alone for the night.

His beautiful wife, his love, would not be making it home for dinner.

Ever.

 

We All Sleep Alone

(Author’s Note: If you’re interested in reading the previous five stories of Mayumi, please use the tag “Mayumi” to find her stories.)

Mayumi’s Story (part VI)
(aka “We All Sleep Alone”)
by Miles H. Rost

The months passed by, and things finally stabilized for Mayumi Shiomi. After dealing with more ups and downs at her job, things finally were able to get to some semblance of “normal”. She had just a little over 4 months left on her contract, and could not wait to leave.

The intervening months since her letter to her dad had not been too kind. She went through many relationships and one night stands, feeling the loneliness and emptiness in her heart that she was left with for such a long time. She finally got in with a counselor to talk about it, to come clean and to rebuild the shattered pieces of her heart and deal with the remnants of the old relationship that so wrecked her personal life.

As she sat in her apartment, looking out at the Sydney landscape, she couldn’t help but think about how she got where she was. She thought about the God she served, and how she was being led even in her weaknesses.

“Y’know, God. Ah’ve been such a fool,” she said, out loud, “I’ve spent so much time grousing about my job, not doing what I’m  supposed to do. Ah know I need to do better, I just don’t know why I’m so weak.”

She sighed, as she looked at the cloudy skies that unfolded over the city like a scroll. It was a day that matched her feelings, and as she got up to do a small bit of cleaning, she gave a small sigh and a weak smile.

“Sooner or later, Lord, we all sleep alone. Ahm glad it’s happening now, instead of when I’m an old maid.”

Looking at the calendar, she had the date circled. Just over 4 months, and she could finish her contract and get out. She already had prospects at a new job, and a new life in Melbourne. But, she wouldn’t be able to start for at least a month after due to non-compete clauses. She knew that this would be a perfect time to find out about places to live there.

She had life to look forward to. But she had to survive the next months. That would be a challenge, as long as she was dealing with all the anxiety issues and the health problems that came with it. Worry, anxiety, and all sorts of other things pulled at Mayumi’s neck like a gremlin on an airplane. It was not something she enjoyed, and her sleep sometimes suffered because of it.

She would pray for at least one vacation in between, just to make things go faster.

She grabbed her pillow, and proceeded to her bedroom to take a nap. Why not let time pass her by with something she wanted to do.

Sleeping was one way to get away from the everyday. And she took to it like a champion.

Friday Fictioneers – Homeward Bound

Apologies for no posts in the last two weeks. Vacation and depression do affect a person. Here’s the latest Fictioneers offering, albeit a couple days late due to birthday stuffs.

copyright Jean L. Hays

Homeward  Bound

by Miles H. Rost

“So this is where it all started?” Marina asked her grandpa.

“Yep. This is where the famous Route 66 got it’s start,” Grandpa responded, with pride.

“Not that, silly! This is where you started your journey, wasn’t it?” the child said, smiling like she was sharing a secret.

“Ah, child. This was the start of my journey. I lived in that brown building back there, and one day I decided to move west. I packed up a ’55 Bel-Air, picked up your grandma in Des Moines, and we made our way to Oregon.”

“Then I came along and brought you back here!”

“Actually, that was your mom…”

Friday Fictioneers – Missed Opportunities

Heyo, everyone! After a wild and wooly (meaning stressed out previous) week, and a restorative weekend, here I am with the Christmas Eve version of Friday Fictioneers. Coming up soon will be a longer story from me, but until then, here’s my latest entry:

 Missed Opportunities

by Miles H. Rost

The adventuring party waited at the bottom of the stairs, as the scout came bolting down.

“Alright. Up at the top of the steps and about 50 feet in is an Ancient Red Dragon.”

“A RED dragon?” the Wizard said, squeaking out the color.

“We’re level 15, not level 65. That’s what Red Dragons are. No way we’re going in,” the leader of the party told them.

The lot agreed, and bypassed the stairs as they went towards the distant Swamp of Salinity.

Up the stairs, the Red Dragon opened it’s eyes and sighed.

“Why won’t people take a chance on me?” he said to himself, “I’m a lovable guy. I even have cookies! I just want people to talk with…”

A tear fell down his scales as he curled back up.

Friday Fictioneers – Flesh and Blood

Welcome to this week’s fictioneers. While you’re here, take a read over my last big story, “Solitary Man“. I will be trying to do much more regularly updates soon, but work is raking me over the coals. Stay tuned.

Flesh and Blood
by Miles Rost


I was sitting at the bar that last night. I look on it now, and I know I should never have gone. But I was so mad about work, I needed to go somewhere.

This short brunette sidled up to me while I was deep into my second Guinness.

“Hey, stranger. Why are you here?”

“Bad day at work. I’d like to be alone.”

She was empathic. She even bought me another Guinness.

That was all it took to take me home. What was supposed to be a night of passion, turned into my death.

My flesh and blood gone, stripped by a spider with sweet smelling hair.

Solitary Man

Solitary Man
a story by Miles Rost

The smell of the apartment was enough to choke the life out of a thousand hardened terrorists.

I got to this position due to my friendship with Ryan. Ryan could be considered one of my better friends from college. He’s someone who is dependable, friendly, and usually on time with just about everything. He was even at events, on the nose, as they started. The folks at the atomic laboratory could set their clocks to him, and they’d be quite accurate.

At least, that was the case until just about 3 weeks ago. That was when things went pear-shaped.

All through college, Ryan was dating a seemingly nice, yet quite meek girl named Clarissa. They came from opposing high schools in the same town, but started dating just as they ended high school. For the full four years of university, they were together. He had a bit of independence, especially with “safe” friends like me. It seemed that by the way things were going, they would be married after college.

6 months ago, Clarissa changed dramatically. The meek girl we all knew suddenly became vocal, brash, and pretty darn mean. She was also quite controlling, it appeared.

About that time was when Ryan stopped hanging out with us. Sure, he’d be able to sneak away and be able to join me at a coffee shop somewhere on campus, or he’d give an excuse about having me in class, and somehow I was in that responsible circle of friends.

3 weeks ago, the day after we all graduated, I was there when Ryan was given the shove-off. Clarissa dumped him, flat out, and proceeded to kiss her new girlfriend out in the open. As Ryan slowly turned and walked out, I rushed after him to be a friend and help him out. He told me “Thank you”, and proceeded to get into a taxi.

Now it’s 3 weeks later, and I am visiting his apartment. No one saw him, work’s been wondering where he is, and even his mom is worried. So I told her I’d go over and check up on him. As I opened the apartment door, I was hit with the overpowering stench of dirty dishes and overflowing trash.

The room was dark, all of the curtains closed. It was hard to walk around the place without seeing, so I decided to open up the living room window. The sight that greeted me upon illumination was incredibly ghastly. Pizza boxes strewn all over, half-eaten bowls of mac and cheese that had mold and other things growing on it laid haphazardly in various places. Banana peels lay rotting on the carpet, one or two even ground in a bit like they were walked on.

Through all of this, I could hear one sound coming from what I assumed was the bedroom. It was the sound of Neil Diamond’s “Solitary Man” song.

Tiptoeing around the trash, and after opening a window to let the stench out and the pleasant fall air in, I made my way to the bedroom door. I knocked once and asked if he was there. No answer. I knocked a second time, and said that I was coming in. No answer. So, I opened the door and looked inside.

I’ve seen messes of undeniable putridness. However, looking into my good friend’s room, I was knocked over by just how bad things got. For a man who was known to be quite clean, this was a level of messy that not even my sister could have achieved.

Clothes, pizza boxes and old pizza crusts, and pudding containers were strewn about the room. The windows were sealed with plastic and duct tape, and the smell of the room was atrocious. I turned on the light, and I saw Ryan, lying in his bed. His eyes were open, and his head was lolling side to side as if he was on drugs. I couldn’t think of much to say.

“Hey, Ryan. We’ve been a bit worried about you. You alright?”

“Do you think I’m alright?” he said, his voice raspy and dry.

“Nope, not at all.”

“Listen to the song. That’s how I feel.”

“Dude, I know the song. That was my theme for a long time. Now you’ve taken it on. I get that. Want to talk about it?”

I walked in, navigating around the land mines of trash that were liable to explode. I felt the edge of the bed to see if there was any trash, and feeling a safe spot, I sat down.

Ryan told me about how crushed he was by Clarissa’s explanation. She said that for the 3 months before us outsiders noticed the change, she was starting to show her true colors. And started having sex with her new friend from the women’s center. He told us about how she controlled nearly everything about life, and how she sent her “allies from the center” to spy on our conversations when we met. As he spilled his guts, the pain and hardship he felt finally came forth and he was periodically wracked with sobs. I offered him my shoulder, so he could help.

“I’ve been listening to this song for 3 weeks. I need to go my own way on things now.”

“What are you saying?”

“I’m swearing off women for a while. Clarissa’s given me a bad taste, and all the stuff she was preaching this past year is really leaving a bad taste in my mouth. Hell, I used to support their ideas at one time, until I realized that their ideas aren’t compatible with my way of life.”

“It’s a good idea. You’ve been badly hurt. What you need to have is time to process with the rest of us guys, and then slowly develop good friendships with women who aren’t going to pull a 180 on you like that.”

Ryan slowly moved, brushing aside the bedsheets and blankets.

“I guess I am going to need to clean up this place. Think you could help me out a bit?”

“Am I not your brother, Ryan? That’s what friends do. I’ll help clean up the trash, you just take a shower and get yourself cleaned up that way.”

Ryan just smiled, a smile that I hadn’t seen for nearly a year.

“After that, we’ll get the vacuuming and steam cleaning done on this place. Then, you and me, we’re gonna go out to the river landing and shoot some cans.”

As the final strains of “Solitary Man” played across the speakers, I turned off his iPod. It was time for some new music for a new life. Putting a crust of pizza into a trash bag, I realized that sometimes, just sometimes, a man needs only one friend at one time to help bring him out of an unresolved situation.