Taken Away

All is an interminable chain of longing. Jeff had read that somewhere and now it was truer than anything he thought. Pulling up a chair on the patio, he sulked into misery. The last two days had left him no more than a drunkard. His unsuccessful attempts at trying to drink the sadness away made him frustrated.

 Looking up at the night sky, he wondered. How did it come to this? He wanted to live a simple life. The kind where he would sit by the window and read books when it rained. The kind where he’d stay up all night and paint the full moon. Where he’d listen to music while drinking his coffee in the morning.

But he stumbled, like all men, and fell in love. And not in any ordinary way. But the way an artist loves his art. Slowly making it, nourishing it and waking every day, and feeling full of life. He thought it would go on for eternity. But all wise men know that’s not true. When in love one must be careful, because more often than not, it’s our own quickness that kills us. But he could not look out when he was blind. As is known, first love almost never lasts. And so, like life, his love ended and like love, he fell again.

There’s nothing more powerful than a broken-hearted man’s love, for in giving they are like, ‘I know I have been through a war. I know I have been left hopeless on the streets. But come here, take my heart.’ A sacrifice like no other. For sometimes, he imagines that hope is a lie that tells him the sweetest things over and over until he falls blind to the reality, which he knows to be far worse. What a funny thing to desire and yet starve. To take bits of hope yet be afraid of its entirety.

The glass was empty. Jeff got up to pour himself some more wine. “Ah, what the world would do without wine”, he thought. He settled himself in his seat and embarked on another unsuccessful attempt to drown his sorrow.

He could almost picture his second love. Martha, a sweet girl with rosy cheeks. He pictured her emerald-green eyes and her ink-stained fingers. She was goofy and used to make him laugh. They were mad about each other. Almost perfect. But how could this cruel world let it happen?

Another glass. According to Jeff’s calculations, this one would make him sleep. He remembered how a thief had shot her in the face and stole her from him. Nobody deserved to die that way. Nobody.

Jeff never went to the funeral. He heard the ceremony was nice. He was already buried in grief. If he were at the funeral, he’d have buried himself in the mud too.

On the edge of consciousness, Jeff tried to picture Matha one last time. Her laugh. So full of heart it almost made him cry. As she faded away, he understood something. That he’d turn into a monster if the world didn’t return her to him.


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