The Darkness of Morning

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
The story of Rob, his desk, and a figment of his imagination named Maggie. Rob is a writer caught in a slump dealing with the sadness of a broken relationship.

Submitted: June 17, 2007

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Submitted: June 17, 2007




He sat at his desk, the desk that had served him so well for so long. The one whose dark wood drawers houses hundreds of fragmented papers, bits and pieces of himself, his precious writing. Its scratched and slightly worn surface had been witness to his greatest triumphs of literary might as well as his most dismal failures, but his desk knew and remembered them all because they were important. Triumphs and failures alike, they were essential to his growth, to his craft. For without failure we cannot see what we must improve. So his desk held them tight, guarding the lessons Rob had learned deep within itself.

The desk watched him today with great concern. He was distraught. His head lay nestled in his hands, his dark brown hair frazzled and he had not shaved in a days. He had a fresh piece of paper out before him with a few untidy scrawled sentences but he had abandoned it very quickly. Rob was a strange man, although he had computer to type up his stories he always wrote them down on paper first. He said it helped him think clearer. The desk didn't complain though, it loved the feel of the pen massaging the paper atop it, the words being lightly etched into it. But today, when he wrote it was not the usual soft massage. The pen stokes seemed to be laborious and forced, tired and weak.

Rob echoed his desk's thoughts, "What is wrong with me today?" He picked up his pen and poised it over the page, waiting for that moment of inspiration, but it was hard in coming. He let loose a great sigh like someone so very weary he could barely go on. He got up and walked away, "I just can do this today."

Rob was in a slump as was abundantly obvious to his desk. He just couldn't think of anything to write, everything seemed so mundane and pointless to write about. The only ideas that seemed even half worth writing were always depressing. Death and sadness pervaded his thoughts, and it was unavoidable. Death of all kind riddled his mind, physical death, death of a cause, emotional death, and finally the death of a relationship. He had beat the last one to death it seemed like everything he wrote hinged on her and how six months had been wasted for nothing. He wrote about it because his desk was the only one who would listen anymore. But he was tired of it, tired of being sad over her. Tired of wishing it hadn't happened, and most of all tired of thinking about what he should have done different.

He put it out of his mind; he had to focus on writing. It had been days since he had written anything that wasn't completely awful. He wanted to write something happy, something that had an overlying theme other than how horrible life was. Nothing came to his mind.

"I have got to get out of this house," he said aloud to no one. He went to the bathroom, showered, shaved, and made himself halfway presentable, something he hadn't done since she had left him. He had showered of course but he had not made any particular effort to look good. Really he hadn't left the house except for groceries in the two weeks after she had left him. He hated going out because he always saw couples and was painfully reminded of what he had lost and now did not have.

He grabbed his laptop and scooped up his keys and headed out to the nearest Starbucks. He ordered a coffee and found a table in a far corner where he could work without interruption. He sat facing out toward the rest of the shop so he could look around if he needed a break from writing. He opened his laptop and stared at the screen for a moment before he began to write. In his mind's eye he saw a beautiful blonde girl sitting in a field, waiting. He named her Maggie and he copiously described how her cream colored hair shimmer in the afternoon sun, how her light blue eyes reflected the sky that she stared up into. How she playfully picked flowers for the one she waited on.

He stopped writing. He knew where this was headed, he had been there before, he had written about it countless times in the last two weeks. She was waiting for her love. But he would never come. He never did because Rob was just like Maggie, full of hope so viciously crushed. "Damn it Rob," he said to himself, "Think happy." But he could not.

He stared around aimlessly, started to write but deleted it; finally he played solitaire on his computer. He laughed and said to himself, "you leave the house and still all you can do is play solitaire." He finished his coffee, and then silently fought with himself whether or not to get another. He stared at the cardboard cup and decided one was enough.  He closed his laptop and moved to leave but caught himself as he looked toward the door.

There she was, Rachel, the woman who had broken his heart. He quickly opened his laptop and ducked down behind it. He felt foolish because he knew it was stupid, but he didn't want to talk to her. He didn't want one of those awkward conversations with her. He hated those, how one day you bear your soul to someone, tell them everything. Then the minute it ends all you can seem to talk about is the weather and ask each other shallow questions.

 He turned his computer back on and pretended to be doing something on it, all the while watching her. She ordered a coffee then sat on the opposite side by the big storefront window. He watched her sit silently sipping her coffee. After she had been sitting for a few minutes a tall handsome man entered and she rose to greet him. Rob realized to his horror that she was on a coffee date with this man.

He bent down over his laptop silently praying that she wouldn't see him. He felt like a middle-schooler, but he didn't care, this was the last place he wanted to be. After a few more minutes he realized that they would not notice him. They were too absorbed with each other. He could probably get up and leave without them noticing but for some reason he did not. He chose to watch them, how she smiled more than necessary when he talked, how they both laughed unusually hard, and how she kept touching his arm when he talked.

He wished that he could just get up and leave but his body would not allow him. Lucky for him, Rachel got up and excused herself to the ladies room. Rob knew now was his only chance to ensure his get-away. He got up and meant to walk to the door, but somehow his legs led him right to the table where Rachel had just been sitting. He found this new man staring at him imploringly. Rob thought quickly "I'm sorry but I saw you from across the shop and you seem familiar do I know you?" The words slipped out of their own free will before he could stop them.

"I don't believe so," the man replied with a big toothy smile. "My name is Dave, what's yours?"

Rob thought for a second "Robert," he used his full name because he knew if this Dave told Rachel about their meeting she would not associate it with him, she had always called him Rob, she knew no Robert.

"I'm sorry it doesn't sound familiar." He replied with another toothy grin.

Rob smiled, "then I'm sorry maybe I knew your date."

"Would you like to talk to her, she will be back in a moment?"

"No, I have to be going, but it was nice to talk to you Dave." He turned and walked away without looking back. He knew he had been silly and childish, but he didn't care. He didn't care about anything anymore, he was just tired. Tired of caring, about her, about what people thought of him, about everything.

He walked home in silence, burdened with thought. He tried desperately to convince himself that he really didn't care. He tried to sink into the pitiful mire of apathy but found himself unable. He just couldn't muster that level of self-loathing that would cause him to abandon hope in everything. Yet this inability was no consolation to him, for he knew that this desire for apathy was a covering for the depression that silently loomed over him, threatening at any moment to overtake him.  

His problem was that he cared too much. No matter how he tried to avoid it, disguise it, ignore it. It was there, always with him. He had tired to turn it into hate, to blame her that he cared so much. He tried to convince himself that he had never loved her in the first place, that his thoughts didn't obsess over her at every moment. Finally he had told himself that he didn't care at all, whether she lived or died, whether she loved him or not, whether he ever saw her again. As he walked home and told himself these lies he knew they were not true and that they never would be.

When he reached his apartment he went straight to his desk. He flipped open his laptop and finished what he had started with Maggie. He told of how she had waited in the field for hours with anxious anticipation until the world around her descended into the darkness of night. He wrote how she had walked home alone, lying to herself the entire way. She had told herself that it wasn't his fault that she had mixed up the day of the meeting or he had been alerted of urgent business, that he was not somewhere else with another woman and had completely forgotten about her. He wrote of how she had collapsed in tears even before reaching her home, crying about how it was her fault. How if she were prettier or more interesting and exciting he would not have left her.

She had cried bitterly lying on the ground, without shame, without hope. Rob wrote, and Maggie dragged herself off the ground stumbling toward home. As she walked further she came to the realization that it was not her fault and that he was the one to blame. She became a dark rage full specter indignantly cursing his name for making her like this. For hurting her, for making her believe it was her fault, for making her so angry. She picked up rocks and threw them crashing through trees at birds she imagined as him, she cursed aloud and wished he was here to throw rocks at instead of birds.

Then Maggie had reached home, she had fallen into bed with her rage dissipated, and with it her courage to overcome the sadness. She lay staring at nothing, beyond tears, beyond caring. She was so tired of being sad, so tired of being angry, so tired of feeling. She wished that she could be numb and never feel again. She abandoned the hope of ever loving again; the only person she had loved did not even think her worthy enough to tell her he did not love her. He had thought she was worthless and she began to think that he was right.

Rob told of how she could take it no longer. She just wanted to make it all stop, the thinking, the hating, the sadness, life. She stole out of her house, to the edge of the river that would solve her problems. She stared at the crystal flow rising and falling in the moonlight and she knew there was no other place she would rather be than in its embrace. She dove in, it was cool and refreshing. She exhaled and sunk towards the bottom watching the bubbles float up, enchanted with the reflection of the moon which made them glow like angels.

She drank deep the sweet water. She tasted it cold, pure, and beautiful as it slipped past her lips, washed over her tongue, and rushed into her lungs. In those last moments as the moonlight faded in her view she realized that she had done this because she did care, she cared so much she could not bear to imagine him with someone else. No, matter what she said or thought she knew she would always care.

Rob sat at his desk staring at his computer, at what he had just done. He had not hesitated to kill Maggie this time. Rob had not faltered on whether to write on this sadness because he knew that it had to be dealt with before he could move on, for the more he denied it the stronger it would become. He could not avoid his sadness anymore. There are some things in life that are sad and we are meant to address this sadness, to accept it, because it will always be there whether we acknowledge it or not, that darkness amidst the morning light.

© Copyright 2018 Sanderland Lewis4. All rights reserved.

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