A little thought about life

Ricco Vao

21-09-2006 12:42:17

This is just a little story that means alot to me its a little sad but its about how life can be so unfair can you all tell me what you think thanks.


Margaret walks in the park; she hears children playing, feels the wind in her hair, the sun on her skin, sees people coming and going in a world of their own. Everything is bright, colourful, sun-drenched, beautiful even. And she is happy in her warmth. She notices animals: squirrels, a chaffinch foraging in the large shrubs of the park. As she walks with Meg - her little Jack Russell - she smells the newly cut grass, tastes the salt in the sea air and feels alive. She notices the trees turning from spring to summer, the new life of budding plants, the mesmerising sound of the swirling stream nearby. It is tranquil, innocent, in some ways heavenly. She talks to the other regular dog-walkers as she passes - a brief “hello there” - and moves on, everything peaceful, everyone youthful.

She is suddenly startled, brought back from her dream world
to a carer bringing yet another bouquet of flowers, a reminder of the garden she used to own; to urine-soaked corridors; to dreary wallpaper; to the cold damp air of the nursing home. A tear fills her eye, and, like the rain on the window, slips down her cheek, as she comes back to reality.

Lyra walks in the park with her children; she feels the wind in her hair, the sun on her skin, sees people coming and going in a world of their own. She smells the newly cut grass, tastes the salt in the sea air and her heart is like lead. She notices the trees turning from spring to summer, the new life of budding plants, the mesmerising sound of the swirling stream nearby. She talks to no one, wrapped up in her own thoughts, knowing that, for her, summer will never come.

She is startled from her daydream by the sound of her two children fighting over the ownership of the football and knows she will never see Jennifer in her prom dress or stand proudly beside Jonathan as he graduates from university. Why must she be wrenched from her family when they so need her?

Margaret wonders why she is still here, why her heart still beats strongly in her frail body. She has lived through two world wars and so many personal tragedies: the loss of her parents, husband, brothers and sisters; all her friends have gone before her, she is tired and weary. Why is she still here?

Lyra is in hospital now; the light is fading and she can no longer see the faces of her children. She floats off on a cloud of morphine, falling into an eternal slumber where she can no longer smell the flowers or feel the sun and wind in her hair.

And she is sad.

Margaret struggles to the window to look out at the world she used to know so well. It’s bright and sunny, unlike the day before. There is dew on the grass. She opens the window and the sun floods the room bringing a fresh breeze with it, knocking her back into her chair, but also lightening her mood. Tired and breathing heavily, she closes her eyes but when she opens them again there is no difference, the light has faded and so has her life. At last she has her wish: falling into an eternal slumber, she floats off to that heavenly place where she can walk her dog, smell the flowers and see the world the way she wanted to remember it.

And she is happy.

Ylith Pandemonium

15-10-2006 14:06:30

This counts for 1 page, you will need 9 more pages and do 2 reviews on other stories to
qualify for a Dark Side Scroll.


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Kel Tavik

21-10-2006 23:59:35

You were right. That story did make me a little sad.

Clearly, the main point of this story—which concerns the fleeting nature of life itself, and the lies we tell ourselves so that we can sleep better at night—hits home for a lot of people. We’ve all seen our aging relatives accept that their own vision of the past is the truth, no matter how different it actually is from the truth. We’ve all (I suspect) seen a loved one committed to a nursing home, or at least had a chance to experience the pitiful semblance of life that occurs in such places. I applaud you for addressing these issues so boldly in this piece, and for the rationalization you give them.

I do think, however, that the story could be made much more effective in two distinct ways. First, I dislike the injection of Lyra’s subplot into this story; for me, it disrupts from the very poignant message of Margaret’s tale. In addition, I believe that the piece is too brief—although intentionally so, for artistic purposes—to really do justice to both characters, and that the logical conclusion to the story of a dying young-middle aged woman isn’t really conducive to the overall effect of the piece. After all, it doesn’t take Einstein to figure out that “… she is sad.”

That being said, I personally don’t care for the 3rd person present tense lens the story is seen through. In my opinion, it attempts to impose a surreal ‘artistic’ feel onto a story that has truly powerful, deep connections with everyone on a personal scale. To really drive that home, I believe that a 1st person narration presented only from Maragaret’s point of view would have served the purpose most adequately. When properly done, that kind of view is ideal for the deeply personal, almost pleading nature.

In summary, I think that this piece was very well done. Although you utilized both a different message and a different viewpoint than I would have, I think that the story came off rather well in the end. Bravo!

Werdna Elbee

09-11-2006 04:43:53

Wow! Ric, you used Punctuation! It's not all in the right place, and sometimes a little overused, but it's a major improvement on what you type in IRC >:)

Personally, I prefered the third-person nature of the story, As Kel says, it seems use more of an artistic surrealness in what could be a very personal story. Yet dying and having visions are rather surreal experiences and served this short story much better.

I found the flow towards the end to be a little messed up. As soon as I got adjusted to having one paragraph being a dream and the other being real the system stopped for more of a free-for-all in pace and structure. I had to concentrate a little harder at that point to get the information in. The "And she is sad" bits made it worse and should have been removed.

When you got to her never getting to see her children doing things you should have really added 'again' because at that point I presumed she was in there after having an accident that claimed family.

Overall I enjoyed reading it, as much as you can enjoy reading about an old woman dying, and it made a fantastic change to the usual ego-building Jedi crap.


11-11-2006 14:01:41

What strikes me most after the first read is the story's poetic structure. In a very brief, dream-like glimpse of a character's thoughts, feelings, and emotions, I think it works well. The two characters, Margaret and Lyra--if they are two different characters, have me a bit confused. I'm sure this is me not picking up on the connection you're making and poetic prose-like verse like this is so subjective I could probably infer a thousand things and be wrong everytime. Unless of course the author's intention is for the reader to draw whatever conclusion they will.

The impression I get is that the two characters are halves of the same whole: one wishing for death and release, one desperately hanging on. I'm not sure if this is what is meant, but it's what I get from it. The double-tragedy also serves to reinforce that sometimes life is without hope. There is no happy ending. Normally in a story like this you'd get a light and dark side. Here it's two dark sides as is often the way of things.

Ricco Vao

24-05-2007 17:52:51

I thank you all for your reviews they were very constructive and I am glad that a sad story has brought some joy. Of course the story is meant to stratch the mind and some of it is supposed to make you think. But really it is up to you what you take out of it. I did not mean for there to be one specific meaning of this short story rather that there were so many differant perspectives that everyone had something differant to say about it.

My englsih teacher actually cried when she read it and to her she could reflect with it as her mother had died almost the same way. I did pass my higher with an A from this and I thank you all again for the constructive comments you gave.