Disclaimer: I am participating in the Start Writing Fiction course run by the Open University, on FutureLearn. I will be posting the things that I write as part of that course on this blog. Please note that these are all to be considered as drafts only, nothing will be a perfectly polished finished piece.
In this section we had to submit a 300-500 word piece for peer assessment.
This was the first time I was late in submitting something. I had planned on doing it at the weekend, but had quite a bad cold when it rolled around.
He sat alone in his kitchen, a warm mug of tea cradled in his wrinkled hands; the ticking of the clock on the wall the only sound to break the silence.
Dave was a simple man, always had been. He’d always hated having to share his personal space with anyone. Having someone sharing his house felt like having an invading army encroaching on his space, and the more their life seeped into his the more frustrated he became.
He liked things a certain way. There was no harm in that. Anyone could relate.
People who knew him said he was too quiet, too withdrawn, didn’t smile enough. Was he happy?
Of course he was happy, not everyone spent their entire life grinning like idiots just for the hell of it.
The clock continued ticking away, heedless of the grumpy old man grumbling away beneath it.
He finally had everything he had ever wanted, so why wasn’t he any happier?
He had a house to himself, away from the hustle and bustle of the city; he was able to retire early, and still live comfortably without financial worry; he was a published author, as he’d always dreamed of being.
What was missing?
With a mind of their own, his eyes wandered to the photograph pinned to his fridge, under the eye-less fish magnet.
The photo was taken almost thirty years ago, and had been displayed there almost as long, surviving even two fridge replacements over the years. He always put it back; it was where it belonged after all.
In it was himself, aged twenty-five years old, and still in possession of all of his brown hair. All around him was his family. His mother, and her mother, God rest their souls. His two uncles, their spouses, and between them their six children, and their children as well.
What a madhouse that day had been.
It was the last birthday party he had had before his mother passed away.
He could recall the sounds of the day so clearly, the laughter bouncing off the walls of his grandmother’s house; the delicious scents of homemade cooking, and lemon cake that his mother and grandmother had laboured over all morning; the hilarious sight of his younger cousins having a water gun fight in the backyard under the sweltering Brazil sun.
All he could hear now was the ticking of the clock, resounding throughout his empty kitchen in his dream home. He’d gotten everything he wished for after all, hadn’t he?