View Full Version : Sorrow

September 15th, 2016, 03:32 AM
An older piece of mine that I never edited before tonight that I thought I'd share. Comments and critiques appreciated.


The isolation was palpable. Anthony had not left his house for over a month. With his father finally gone after a long period of sickness, he did not want to approach the rest of the world. He felt, now, that all he had left were his memories.

A photograph of his dad was on his bedroom dresser. It was his most cherished possession. He did not spend a single day without taking it into his hands, as if it was made of the most delicate glass, and reminiscing about the days that he had been alive. His mother had died at childbirth, so he did not have any recollections of her, despite how much he had liked learning about her and how he felt he could, almost, envision her in his mind.

Anthony pulled the sheets over himself, not wanting to wake. His father had left him enough money so that he did not need to work. He was not sure he would have been able to had it been necessary. As much as he felt that some instinct should have provided him a measure of comfort by this thought he found that he simply did not care. His parent's death had taken nearly all of the joy out of his life. Every moment being awake provided him with a measure of discomfort, as if he had a pain pressing him deep within the cavities of his chest.

It was a Friday, or at least it felt like one, when the package arrived at the door. At first, Anthony could not believe his ears. He could not remember ordering anything for himself for the last six months and he did not know what a package was doing at his doorway. When the doorbell was rung for the second time he forgot, temporarily, about his appearance and made for his front door. There, once it was opened, a man with a parcel and a shiny red cap gave him a clipboard which he signed. After he was done the man in the ball-cap walked back to his truck and jumped in, giving Anthony a wave as he was pulling away.

Anthony looked downed at the parcel that was now in his possession. What now? he thought.

He brought the parcel to his living room and set it down on the table, dusty and filthy, that was located in there. Anthony began opening it and soon found himself face to face with an unlabeled audio cassette. He looked for the address that was located on the parcel, to check where it had come from, but it was completely blank.

What? he thought. That makes no sense. How can there be no sender address?

He remembered something important at that moment: his old cassette player. Back when he was in college he had used it in a vain attempt to try and pass his classes. It had not worked but the tape recorder could play cassettes. Anthony grabbed it off of the mantle behind his bed and brought it over. He sat down in the living room on the tattered sofa and, letting his hands run over it for one last time, slipped it into the cassette player.

"Anthony," a voice said, raspy and thick. "You don't know me, but I definitely know you. I have a few things that I need to tell you, things that you absolutely need to know. You won't ever find out who I am, but it's important that you pay attention, that much I can tell you."

Anthony leaned back on his sofa, feeling uneasy. He crossed his legs and tried to front himself against the mettle of the voice that was flowing, whether he wanted it or not, into his mind. It was as if it were a strange intruder in his home, burrowing its way into the serpentine confines of his mind-- or what was left of it.

"Your father's death was an accident. You know this. But I want you to know that I knew your father quite well. He always came to me when I was down in the dumps and tried to cheer me up the best that he could. He was a very influential and important man to me and I want you to know that I loved him deeply. I always felt as if he were a brother of some kind to me and I know that he was a good man at heart, no matter what anyone else might say about him. The thing about him that I came to realize was that he was a deeply introverted individual and, despite everything that he was able to do for other people, he was not an untroubled man. He had his problems, just like everyone else."

The voice became softer, more melodic and rhythmical. "He was a good man, like I said. And I wanted you to know that he did a lot for me and thought the world of you. He always brought you up every time he visited me. You were his only son. He wanted the best for you and knew that you would find your place in the world no matter the odds or the circumstances. Your father spoke of you with such pride and appraisal that it is hard to not think of you like a saint, but I understand that you have most likely suffered through your own problems and failures as well. I have the feeling, and I might be wrong but I think I might be more right, that you take after your father. I hope you are doing well, that much I wish for you, and I want you to know that there is something that your father wanted you to have. He left it in my possession and I will not hide it from you. He said it was not ready at the time of his untimely death but I feel it is still legitimate to show what it is and I think you will understand that it came from his heart and appreciate the sentiment and the heart that comes from it. It is in a security box at your bank. The verbal password at the bank is Equinox. That is all I wish for you, take care."


At the bank Anthony was quickly ushered through the proceedings, although for him it could not have been quick enough, and soon he was face-to-face with the deposit box. At first, he debated whether he should take the contents of it home with him and examine them there but instead he decided to examine them while he was still at the bank.

Inside was a card, which said: "To you, my son. The best person I have ever known. I love you."

It was a miniature painting of Anthony and his father. He recognized the picture that his father had based it from-- he had nearly memorized the family photo albums. They had their hands over each others shoulders and were smiling, looking at the viewer with an expression that was faintly mischievous. It was unfinished, but Anthony could see the technique and effort towards detail that his father had put towards it.

He carefully held the photo and card as if it were they were his last possessions on earth. Anthony went out to the front steps of the bank and proceeded to cry tears upon tears as people passed him by, all of them ignoring him.

September 16th, 2016, 09:21 PM
Aww, that's such a sad story. I could read it in one flow and was right there with Anthony. I like that the painting was not finished, I don't even know why. Just one thing: It sounds more like a beginning of a novel than just a short story. You could think there is even more that Anthony will be experiencing. :) But I understand if this is only a little text for you. This is also fine. :)

September 17th, 2016, 06:47 AM
Hello Dan,

I enjoyed reading your piece which brought back very vivid memories of my own final days with my father with whom I shared a very close relationship. I especially liked the metaphor of the unfinished painting which perhaps could be viewed as an unfinished life with the son, or of words not spoken but felt. The metaphor is extended by the reader's understanding that the son was capable of filling in the unfinished parts of the painting in his heart - he understood what his father wanted to convey.

Thanks for sharing this. It was a beautiful way to start my day.


September 27th, 2016, 08:00 PM
Beautiful writing... I lost my very dear grandparents at a young age and the painting metaphor hits me perfectly. Many times I think of what I would have liked to ask them and learn from them. But unfortunately, that canvas never got enough paint on it...

September 28th, 2016, 04:46 PM
so liked the emotion and mystery that was running through this....fantastic man

October 5th, 2016, 01:59 AM
Overall I really liked your story, and I thought you did anespecially good job of hiding your exposition in the opening paragraph. Filling the reader in on the main characters family history without breaking the pacing was skillfully done!

Although I really enjoyed your story I felt that the ending didn’t quite have the impact that it could have. The main character finds the half-finished painting, and it evokes strong emotion from him, but it doesn’t impact him in a profound way. In short it doesn’t change his life. I was waiting for a moment of clarity within the main character that never occurs. What did he learn from this event? To sum it up, I think the protagonist should’ve experienced an epiphany, resulting in some sort of change in his being.