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.

 

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Don’t Answer Me

Don’t Answer Me
by Miles Rost

The screech of a car horn right outside the window barely made Daisy flinch.

In the small ground level apartment, she sat on a bed. With her arms around her legs, she sighed with hesitation. She didn’t look up from her pajama-covered legs, focusing only on all the feelings she held inside of her.

All of the feelings she had bubbled up from the reserves that were stuck in her system over the last week. Combine that with a combination of heat, losing people she loved, and a new job that was incredibly laborious, the cocktail of stress caused her to break.

She pulled her legs closer, feeling the weight of her loneliness and isolation. She wanted to go and meet people, but she was in an isolated area of the city, far from the other people like her. The feeling made her turn inward, thinking of what she lost when she left her old location.

As her long, apple-colored hair touched her knees, she saw her cell phone light up on the counter. The telltale sound of her ringtone chimed through the largely empty apartment.

Don’t answer me
Don’t break the silence, Don’t let me win
Don’t answer me
Stay on your island, Don’t let me in
Run away and hide from everyone
Can you change the things we’ve said and done…

It repeated, one of her favorite songs suddenly turning into her biggest tormentor. She felt a tear fall down her face as the words hit her hard. One right after another, like the start of a waterfall as winter becomes spring. She let it ring, as she felt those emotions build up even more with each tear that fell.

The phone rang again, the same lyrics resounding around her head.

Shut up! Shut up! SHUT UP!, she cried in her head, trying to block out the sound. Finally, after the third time the phone rang, she picked it up.

“Hello?” she said, stifling a sniffle.

“Hey! Daisy! It’s Barb. You okay, child?” her friend Barb replied. A southern belle through and through, and her genteel nature was one of the reasons her and Daisy were able to be good friends.

“I’m living.”

“And I can tell that you’re not doing very well. Your sadness is showing. Care to have a friend to talk to here?”

It was no use. Daisy couldn’t hold it in any longer. Through wracked sobs and screams, she relayed everything she felt at that time. She laid out all the fear, the feelings of isolation, the disappointment, and all of the other feelings. For 30 long minutes, she talked to her, putting it out there for one of her long-time friends.

After a few moments of silence and breathing, Daisy gave a long sigh.

“Felt good to get that out, didn’t it, child?”

“Yeah, it felt good. I just don’t have people down here to deal with, that would share experiences with me.”

“Aw, sugah, do you remember when you met me? Remember how you thought I was a bit weird cause I was from the south?”

Daisy put her palm to her forehead, as she remembered the first thing she said to Barb.

“Anyhow, child, remember something. No matter how far we may be from each other, you can always talk to me. And don’t forget your other friends back here, too. The pastor, Jimmy, and even Pele the gardener are always here to talk with ya.”

Daisy smiled, the first smile she had shown to people in a week. As she kept talking, the tears of pain and sadness, hurt and all other feelings, turned to happiness, relief, and joy. She was very thankful for her friend, and she was incredibly grateful that she was there…even if she was going to be going home soon.

(for David Stewart, one of my great friends who has helped me on one of the biggest transitions I’ve had to deal with. Ever.)