A Thoughtful Stroll

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

A fictional prose of a young man who takes a walk along the beach while considering real life issues he's facing.


By Stanley B


As I strolled alone along the shoreline of Mahala beach one quiet evening I pondered many a thought. I wondered how differently human beings were created and how impossible it would be for a single person to have all the characteristics possible or rather all the characteristics that intrigue me.

I considered an instance; there was a laundry man in a hotel I stayed in for a few weeks. Whenever he comes to pick up or return my clothes he wears such a bright, warm and genuine smile that I can’t help but smile back and feel a tad happier than before he came. At the same time I’m also intrigued by the quiet, emotionless, composed types like a select few people I’ve come across. Now is it possible for a human being to be cheerful and warm like the laundryman and at the same time be quiet and emotionless…impossible. This makes me think about marriage. When I find the special lady I don’t expect her to have all the features I ever wanted in a lady as that will be physically and literally impossible, she couldn’t be slim and stylish and at the same time slighty plump and curvy; both features of which I find attractive in ladies. No, that would be impossible. I’ve decided that when I find my lady I’ll just accept her the way she is and try as much as possible to love her flaws just as much as I love her merits and I hope she’ll have the same mindset towards me.

I lifted my gaze from the from my feet that was being slightly smacked by the sea waves and looked at a lady holding two children by the hand and leading them away from the water. I wondered why she would have kids here so late. The sight of them drew me back to when I was a little child myself, how much my mum had cared for me and my siblings. Fortunately for us, dad was around and he was very supportive and understanding. We had good parents. But I remembered how I, as an immature teen and then later as an adult had been rude, disobedient and a jerk to her in some instances in the past. All she had ever done in the past was –to her– in my best interest. So what if she had made mistakes. Her intentions were good. And now she’s no longer around for me to say “Thank you” “Thank you for all your love” “Thank you for tolerating me” “Thank you for raising me” “Thank you for being there” and “I’m sorry for being an ignorant and selfish jerk”. My eyes filled with tears and I found a bench to sit down.

 Those two kids the lady led away, they will most likely grow up to be jerks like I was…picking up rows with parents; and then, most likely, their own kids will be the same way to them and the tragic chain will go on and on. The media obviously encourages it and I only see it spiraling downwards.

As I sat and looked far across the sea, I remembered what a friend of mine told me this morning.  He said he hated when people pretend and when people are not themselves. When he said that to me he was filled with passion and I didn’t want to dispute him so I nodded and smiled. I guess I wasn’t being myself then.

The thought of not being myself to someone who was complaining about people not being themselves made me laugh out. I quickly glanced around to check that no one was looking in my direction. I wouldn’t want anybody thinking I’m crazy.

How can you know when someone is being himself? I asked myself. You simply can’t. What about if I’m being myself by pretending? That is very logically. When I nodded to my friend when I actually didn’t agree with him, I wasn’t being myself but at the same time I was being myself by not being myself. As for me, saying someone isn’t being himself is mostly nonsense as there is no yardstick to measure ‘being yourself’. It’s just a matter of what people expect from you versus what character you are inclined to possess naturally and acknowledging that there are instances when you have to be more inclined to one side than the other. For example, if I were to share a room with someone for like a year, I would like for him to know my dos and don’ts from the onset. It’s either that or I’ll spend the whole year having to inconvenience myself for him. In another instance if I’m just going to be with some for say five minutes, even though I may not agree with what he/she says or does I may choose to accommodate it for the short while rather than risk a bad impression of myself.

Deciding to start heading home as the sun was beginning to set, I stood up from the bench, dropped my slippers I had been holding, wore it and walked in the direction I came from. The ever-familiar spine pain turned up. I am twenty nine years old now and this pain started when I was twenty two. It crept up ever so slightly and gradually over the years. I first complained to the doctor when I was twenty six. He conducted an x-ray test which turned out good and just advised me to adjust my standing posture, sleeping position and take more calcium. I’ve been doing these –not excellently I must add- and the pain remains and has yet increased. Being a person who doesn’t lie to himself I retired to the fact that this pain will continue till I die. I see myself being doubled-over when I’m old and needing a walking stick to prevent myself from tumbling forward. I smiled ironically.

I began thinking about old age and death. How come men of old in the Holy Book lived for centuries over and it’s a huge achievement to clock one century now. Could it be our trashy diet, the polluted air, the stress of just making a living these days, the overload of information, radio waves and all manner of other waves bouncing back and forth everywhere or what exactly?, most likely a combination of all these and more. Now should I attempt to eat and live healthily and live a long and healthy life or live it up and do what I want when I feel like and smile at death when it comes? Lazy me….I think I’ll go for the latter.

I could see my apartment a few blocks ahead. The anticipation of the certain noise from neighbours that will continue undoubtedly till after midnight sickened me. I almost accommodated the thought of taking another walk to the beach and back just to get away but knew I couldn’t afford that luxury without suffering from it one way or the other at work tomorrow. I’ve been pushed to the wall twice to complain directly to these noisy neighbours. In both occasions, they have reduced their music and loud chatting to a somewhat acceptable level and then in the same night they had gradually increased the noise to the former level ...seriously, I think they even made it louder than before, perhaps to spite me….or am I being paranoid? In any case, I can’t wait to save up enough money to move to a quiet apartment. I’ve been forced to sleep with my ears plugged to my music player (playing soft and soothing tunes) every night and I just know this is affecting me somehow even if it hasn’t started really telling on me yet. Most of these neighbours are business men and women who have irregular sleeping patterns; they usually sleep late at night and complete their daily sleep at the business places. I can’t afford to take a nap in my open office, even if a superior didn’t nudge me awake I just couldn’t display myself that way.

As I walked up the two flights of stairs, and through the torrent of noise from either side of the stairs, to my apartment I worried about when I will actually find someone to spend my life with. Just three instances have I seen a lady that I felt I could actually be with. It was a feeling that transcended looks or impression but felt more like a spiritual connection. In all three cases I was too shy, too scared to approach her and say hi. All three times we had shared eye contact for at least four seconds and I just froze. I couldn’t sleep or eat properly for a few days afterwards, all three times. I despised myself for flinching. I should have just thrown caution to the wind and spoken to her or rather them. Next time –hopefully there will be a next time soon- I’ll face my fear and say something to her no matter how stupid it may sound. Actually, I fear I’ll just freeze again. I’m a shy guy. But wait a second, what stopped her from talking to me. Or are all ladies still following the archaic idea that it must be a guy to approach a lady? Then what chance do shy guys like me have?

Well, she or rather they lost as much as I did. I thought in annoyance as I walked into my bedroom.

Wait a second, it can’t be they. Okay, I’ll settle for ‘she’ in three occasions.

As I sat on my bed and disrobed to my shorts I realized that I even had more thoughts running through my head than before my walk.

I sighed as I plugged in my earphones to block the sound coming from the neighbours and get some sleep.

“Story of my life” I muttered before I shut my eyes.



Submitted: February 04, 2014

© Copyright 2022 Stanleey. All rights reserved.

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