Sunday, March 25, 2012

The story



It could so easily have been the shortest story ever told. When he entered the world it was as if he didn’t like what he saw or sensed or felt. He was a discontented child who seemed to have resented the efforts of those who had fought to save him as he struggled to take his first breaths. At school he was a loner who shunned the efforts of his peers to befriend him. To fill his days he crammed his head with the information meted out by his teachers. His raison d’ĂȘtre was the pursuit of knowledge, leaving no time for the banality of social intercourse or interaction with those whom he thought inferior.

At university he shunned the seemingly obligatory revelry and carousing which went on outside his gloomy room.  There he sat night after night; pen in hand, scribbling on endless sheets of paper, bathed in a shallow pool of light from an ancient anglepoise lamp. Ten, twenty, thirty years later, he still sat a desk every night. Still he wrote, every night. His days were filled with vain efforts to instil knowledge into the brains and hearts of disinterested students whose only thoughts were when and where they would next be squandering their allowances.

One day he wasn’t there. His students waited on the old oak benches, before the creaking platform which was that day silent. A visit to his little room found it to be vacant. There was nothing there. Nothing that is, but an enormous pile of papers on top of which sat the fountain pen he’d used since a child and a bottle of ink. After almost sixty years living in a world which seemed alien to him he’d simply disappeared. He had long since disowned his family and he had no friends, just casual aquaintnesses who were as mystified as every body else about his whereabouts.  

No one could have imagined what the mighty tome contained. It was a story; a long story about a way of life he’d never experienced. It was a novel, a story of a life with the highs and lows that all of us experience. It was filled with joy, yet sometimes tinged with sadness. A story of relationships and adventures, successes and failures. A story of a life he never experienced yet somehow understood, tales even of licentiousness and debauchery.

It ended abruptly; the work was unfinished. Where was the rest of the story?

A shaft of sunlight fell like a spotlight on his discarded lecturer’s gown which lay crumpled on the floor in the corner of the dismal room. Sitting atop was a screwed up piece of paper. On it were written just six words.  ‘The best is yet to be’



15 comments:

  1. AWESOME!!! you're a great story teller! :-)

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  2. Utterly brilliant Keith..observing the story leaves you outside..often..and yet there is hope..that in time we can all leave the dismal room and take part in it..(why else would it be interesting unless deep down 'we' wanted to be out there too!) Jae

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  3. What a beautiful and eerily sad tale and such a pleasure to read.

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  4. And about time, too! This sucked me in right from the get go!

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  5. You made me care about this man in a few, short paragraphs. Oh, how I'd love to read the rest of his story!

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  6. You told an excellent tale in a tight space. I was hooked from start to finish. Loved the end.

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  7. Whew.... thank goodness he realised and started to live his life after all those years of exisiting!

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  8. Oooh! Good one. I got shivers reading that.

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  9. I'm with Kendall, goose-bump-good, Keith! Loved this!

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  10. This tale is brilliant and I'm glad he left the room behind. I hope he finds the best that's yet to be!

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  11. Now that he has vanished and discarded his empty lifestyle, I hope that he will find all of the tales that he has always known. I find pleasure in knowing that he left the room in such a mystifying way.

    Such a complete tale. I love the way that you forced the years(decades)to carry on.

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  12. awww this left me grinning...love it. It leaves you wondering about his adventures, certain he is off somewhere making magic in a very real way!

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  13. your blog is great and i love this blog post thanks for sharing this post.

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  14. your blog is great and i love this blog post thanks for sharing this post.

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