Sunset

Reads: 700  | Likes: 5  | Shelves: 3  | Comments: 7

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


A picture-inspired short story.


Sunset

Albert Carstairs sat carefully on to the bench. Every day for the last two months he had been in the same place, sitting and waiting to watch the sunset. The drizzle did not put him off, neither did heavier rain. It would disguise and wash away his tears; he was too old to be allowed to cry, at least that was how he felt.

Loneliness, an emptiness that he had no way of filling, not now Grace had died. He’d always thought he’d be the first to go. Never had he dreamt that he would be left all alone, with his grief and his memories. The house felt ‘wrong’, empty now that she was no longer there to break the silence, even if it was true that they had been far from close in years.

The children had been long gone, two girls that had flown the nest and headed off for lands with much more promise. In fact, in a month or so he would become a great-grandfather. There were the phone calls of course, once a week from each of his girls. The occasional letter or package, but that did not change the distance between them. He knew that they would never be coming home and he could not blame them. They had their own relatively successful lives now and it was not their fault that he was alone.

Perhaps if they’d had more notice, if they’d known how short a time Grace had left, they might have done things differently. But they hadn’t known and she had gone so suddenly. His wife had not even been to see a doctor in years; she was healthy, never made a fuss. And then she collapsed and within a fortnight was dead.

The doctors had assured him that no one was at fault, nothing could have been done. Still he felt anger, and guilt. Also, in moments of real despair, he could not help but blame her too; if only she had not been so stubborn. She must have known that there was something wrong, surely.

He sat and stared straight ahead. They’d walked on those mountains once, a long time ago. Not to the top, but part of the way. Those rambles had been one thing that they had both enjoyed. These days Albert just watched the sun sink below the tops of them then made his way slowly back to the house.

It was not ‘home’ any more. Just a building with furniture, an escape from the elements. He’d get something to eat, something very basic, then watch a couple of hours of television. 9pm would find him in bed, trying to sleep away some of the empty hours, just to wake in the morning and go through the motions all over again

It was so unfair. It should have been himself that had gone first. Too late Albert realized just how much he had taken that and so many other things for granted.

 


Submitted: February 08, 2018

© Copyright 2021 hullabaloo22. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Jeff Bezaire

Wow. You capture the loneliness, the pain and sadness, even the resentment of loss so powerfully in this piece, Hully. It's made all the more sadder by how distant he is with his kids, as well as with his wife in their final years. The story compliments the picture perfectly. The story itself feels like a spiritual successor to the piece you wrote about the couple fixated on the bicycle across the street; the distance between them brought on by age.
I couldn't help but think of my grandfather while reading this story - he outlived my grandmother by several months. Once she died, his body broke down and he didn't last long without her. I imagine the pain and maybe some of the feelings Albert feels in this piece my grandfather may have felt, too.
It's a terrible thing to take someone for granted. We don't realize what we had until it's gone. It's difficult when we lose the bond, but there's the chance at redeeming that friendship or love. When we lose the person, that's when regret sets in. It's not an easy thing to live with, but it certainly opens our eyes to how precious someone can be to us.
You stirred a lot of emotions and memories with this piece, Hully. An excellent write. Now I'm feeling reflective. Thank you.

Thu, February 8th, 2018 8:12pm

Author
Reply

Well, I'm glad you got something from the read, Jeff. To be honest I thought it might be a bit too depressing, but it is something that happens. Couples sometimes cannot carry on once on dies. This was not a personal piece, just something that came to mind with the picture. Then again, we could all do with a reminder not to take others for granted, I guess!
Thanks so much for reading and for taking the time to write such a great comment.

Thu, February 8th, 2018 12:25pm

jaylisbeth

Oh wow, I love stories like this, especially since I am an emotional wreck myself. Your words are just very well placed, Hully. I love the transparency of feelings here. Wonderful story.

Thu, February 8th, 2018 8:24pm

Author
Reply

Thanks, jaylisbeth. It was one of those that instantly came to mind when I saw the picture.

Thu, February 8th, 2018 12:26pm

Adam L.

Your story hits very close to home for me, Ms. Hullabaloo. Nicely done.

Fri, February 9th, 2018 3:39pm

Author
Reply

Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment, Adam. I really appreciate it.

Fri, February 9th, 2018 8:45am

Sue Harris

This is so, so sad, and the saddest part is knowing that this really happens. Your writing paints a lonely picture, one of a life not worth living, just an existence... killing time. This really moved me, Hully, it contains a moral. Beautifully written with a powerful message. Sterling job!

Fri, February 9th, 2018 8:31pm

Author
Reply

Thanks, Sue. I was not sure whether to post it, to be honest, so your comment really means a lot.

Fri, February 9th, 2018 12:37pm

Ziasum NT

Truly emotional one. It's totally awesome the way you have captured the emotions. Keep up the good work Hullabaloo !!!

Fri, September 27th, 2019 4:34pm

Author
Reply

Thank you so much for the complimentary review, and for reading the story in the first place. It is very much appreciated.

Fri, September 27th, 2019 12:41pm

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