Monday, July 7, 2014

Alone – story #1

It has been showering on and off again all day. Aside for a few brief "outs" with the dogs, and a trip to Morrisburg for some lemonade, we've been reading, and in my case writing.

I am having some sort of writing mania - Spike's story about our trip (I'm on chapter 2), and a short story about a person that I saw. Each story is quite different,  Spike's is fun to write, but I find the other one a bit depressing. Sometimes as we go about our business, a person will catch my eye; there is something about them that moves me, causing me to wonder about their lives. They are usually people a bit down on their luck in some way (at least as I imagine). I've always wanted to capture the essence of my impression and feelings - this is my first try.

~

<edit - I had pasted the wrong version>

He sat in his car outside the restaurant, thoughts of the past and present swirling through his head. He knew he wanted a good meal, there had been too many nights of canned soup by himself in his apartment, but eating alone was always hard, no matter how many times he'd done it. He'd never really fit in anywhere, and often sat on the sidelines watching other people live their lives. Finally, with a sigh of resignation, he stepped out of the car and walked to the restaurant. On his way in he could hear music playing on the patio and quickened his step in time with the beat.

He'd always loved music, it had been his dream to be a performer - Frankie Vallie, Frank Sinatra, and more recently Michael Buble were his idols. He remembered singing in front of the mirror in his room as a teenager, playing his few records over and over until his mother would shout up at him. Once he even tried out for a talent show at school, but was jeered for his efforts. Not because he couldn't sing, he wasn't 1/2 bad, but because he wasn't one of the in crowd, he was shy and a bit of a loner. Not that he didn't long to be part of a group, it just didn't work out that way.

With strains of the music wafting through the restaurant, he ate his meal and dreamed of what might have been. After he finished eating, he walked over to the patio door so he could watch the fun. As he stood there, a woman came inside, and as she passed he asked her if it was a private party. She shook her head and smiled, inviting him to join in the fun.

He walked out onto the deck, passing several couples on the dance floor. Standing against the back wall he watched. He always felt that with his grey hair and sallow complexion that he was like a ghost, invisible; it was unlikely that he'd be invited to join any of the groups gathered around each table.

There was a pause in the music as the two entertainers stepped away, no one else seemed to be taking their place. He felt that this was his chance, a chance to live, even if for just a few minutes, his dream of being a singer. Spurred into action, he sought out the owner and asked if he could sing just a song or two. With her okay, he waited till the entertainers returned so he could have his turn at the kareoke machine, then walked over and introduced himself. A song was selected and as the first notes hit the air, he closed his eyes and imagined himself in another place. The people sitting around the patio became a cheering crowd. Women crowded the edge of the stage. He was a star.

After the song ended he stood quietly for a few more seconds, unwilling to let the illusion go. Reality eventually intervened, and he saw not a cheering crowd, but people gathered in the same groups, talking together, oblivious to his performance. His shoulders slumped. And he walked out of the restaurant alone.

~

Enjoy your week!