Lonely People

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DATo
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Lonely People

Post by DATo » 12 Jun 2016, 18:05

Lonely People

by

DATo


The red, double-decker bus threaded its way slowly down damp streets through the cold, early morning, English mist and fog. A young man stood at door as the bus coasted to a stop.

“Where ye off to with them flowers this time o’mornin mate?” asked the driver, as the bus hissed to a stop.

“Off to see me girl. Her birthday. Gonna make a day of it.”

“Well, she picked a right fine day to be born. Try not to get too wet.”

“I’ll do me best.”

As he stepped off the bus he heard behind him, “An give ‘er a peck on the cheek from me too will ye?” Followed by the sounds of a hearty laugh and the release of hissing brakes.

The youth began the remaining four block treck along a street bordered by an old cemetery. He stopped. Barely visible through the mist he could see several figures in the cemetery. A tall woman in a long dress ... no, it was a man, a priest, ... throwing something into an open grave. The man then pulled a handkerchief from his pocket, wiped his hands and then nodded. Two other men began shoveling dirt into the hole. The youth continued to watch as as the two men completed their task, touched the brims of their hats, and then left the priest alone retuning to their lorry.

The youth continued to watch the old priest for a minute and then took several steps in the direction of his appointed meeting with his girlfriend before his footsteps were arrested by a compulsion he could not ignore. Surprised by his own bravura he made his way slowly to the man in the black robe. The priest did not see him approaching.

“Hello Father.” said the boy.

At once the surprised priest’s face burst into a radient smile.

“And hello to you too! You’ve come to pay your respects to my departed parishioner?”

“Well, no Father. Oh, I see, the flowers. No, they’re for my girlfriend. Her birthday today you see. I just saw you standing here all alone and thought, well, maybe you’d like some company.”

“How old are you young man?” asked the priest.

“Fifteen Father, sixteen in three months.” replied the youth.

“I’ve come to not expect such consideration from members of your generation. It seems you are an exception. I thank you for the kindness of your company. Your presence is indeed welcome.”

“The person who died, was it a relative? Oh, yes, ‘parishioner’, you said.”

“She was more than just a parishioner. She was also a dear friend, and if truth be told, my only friend. She was just a wee slip of a woman, old and infirm, but her visits for tea would brighten my day. We enjoyed each other’s company and conversation.”

“I’m sorry for your loss then Father.”

“Aye, as I am. There were three of us once. We’d meet on Wednesdays for a few hands of cards and took tea together. When Sophie died three years ago it became just the two of us, and now only me. Sophie’s death prompted my friend to buy this cemetery plot and that wee headstone you see there in advance with the savings from her pension money. As you can see there is no one else to bury her but me. I suppose each of us was all alone in this world except for each other.

“She wasn’t alone Father. You’re here with her.” said the youth.

The priest smiled a lonely smile and then said, “I don’t want to keep you from your date with your girl. There’s nothing left for me to do here. Shall we go?”

The two of them began walking toward the gate of the cemetery when the young man said, “Excuse me a minute Father.” He then bolted toward the grave and left the flowers he had bought for his girlfriend before the tiny headstone. He then jogged back to the priest who was once again smiling broadly.

“That was nice of you boy, but what will your girlfriend say when you arrive empty handed?”

“I’ll tell her what I did with them and why. She’ll understand Father. She’s made of the right stuff.” said the youth.

“And so are you young man. And so are you.” replied the priest. “She was a fine woman - a great heart. You know, the sad part is that no one else knew her. She was the type of person who should have been famous. Would you do an old man a favor, boy? Will you remember us in your prayers?”

“I will. I give you my word, I will.” said the youth.

The young man extended his hand, “By the way, my name is Paul.”

“Pleased to meet you Paul. Mine's James - James McKensie.” said the priest.

The two men parted, walking in opposite directions, silhouetted against the backdrop of a grey and lonely cemetery in the midsts of which an observant passer-by might notice a vibrant splash of color illuminating and gracing a tiny headstone engraved with the name, Eleanor Rigby.
“I just got out of the hospital. I was in a speed reading accident. I hit a book mark and flew across the room.”
― Steven Wright

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klbradley
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Post by klbradley » 07 Jul 2016, 10:34

Okay... I need to read more! I had a perfect picture in my head of this. Description is perfect, as I could actually imagine it all.
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Post by MsMartha » 07 Jul 2016, 13:21

Very well done!! Is this part of a project you're working on?

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Post by DATo » 07 Jul 2016, 19:06

@klbradley & @MsMartha,

Thank you both for taking the time to read my story and also for your responses.

MsMartha - I don't know what you mean by "project". If you mean the stories I submit to this part of the forum: it is just a hobby. I enjoy the creative aspect of writing and I also enjoy reading the creative efforts of other amateur writers who submit their stories and poetry on this website. Thanks again for your response. [:- ) ... AND ... thank you for not mentioning that I spelled "radiant" wrong . *Beats himself about the head furiously with a loaf of French bread*.
“I just got out of the hospital. I was in a speed reading accident. I hit a book mark and flew across the room.”
― Steven Wright

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Post by MsMartha » 08 Jul 2016, 11:30

DATo wrote:@klbradley & @MsMartha,

Thank you both for taking the time to read my story and also for your responses.

MsMartha - I don't know what you mean by "project". If you mean the stories I submit to this part of the forum: it is just a hobby. I enjoy the creative aspect of writing and I also enjoy reading the creative efforts of other amateur writers who submit their stories and poetry on this website. Thanks again for your response. [:- ) ... AND ... thank you for not mentioning that I spelled "radiant" wrong . *Beats himself about the head furiously with a loaf of French bread*.
I was wondering if maybe you're doing a series of stories based on famous songs--I think it's interesting to see how the different style affects the same thing. And I was so involved I didn't even notice the misspelling!!

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Post by gali » 09 Jul 2016, 01:36

I just saw this. I enjoyed reading it. Very well-written and touching to boot.
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)

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Post by DATo » 09 Jul 2016, 04:07

gali wrote:I just saw this. I enjoyed reading it. Very well-written and touching to boot.
Thanks for the response gali. I'm glad you liked it.

I wonder what really inspired "Paul". I'd love to know where he got the idea for that composition.

I did a bit of research:

I was sitting at the piano when I thought of it. The first few bars just came to me, and I got this name in my head ... "Daisy Hawkins picks up the rice in the church". I don't know why. I couldn't think of much more so I put it away for a day. Then the name Father McCartney came to me, and all the lonely people. But I thought that people would think it was supposed to be about my Dad sitting knitting his socks. Dad's a happy lad. So I went through the telephone book and I got the name "McKenzie" - Paul (1966)
“I just got out of the hospital. I was in a speed reading accident. I hit a book mark and flew across the room.”
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Post by Thebooknerd24 » 18 Jul 2016, 09:36

You did an excellent job with details and description. I don't know if you intended for the mood to feel eerie but that's what I felt almost as if I was there at the cemetery. I think I may have noticed one missing word but it's not too huge a deal. I also have to compliment you on the great job you did with the dialect of the characters. It was like I could actually hear the British accents as if they were in the room with me.

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Post by DATo » 19 Jul 2016, 18:56

Thebooknerd24 wrote:You did an excellent job with details and description. I don't know if you intended for the mood to feel eerie but that's what I felt almost as if I was there at the cemetery. I think I may have noticed one missing word but it's not too huge a deal. I also have to compliment you on the great job you did with the dialect of the characters. It was like I could actually hear the British accents as if they were in the room with me.
Thanks for the kind words Thebooknerd24.

You are quite correct. I missed a word in the second sentence but by the time I noticed it it was too late to correct it.
A young man stood at the door as the bus coasted to a stop.

I wasn't trying to make the mood eerie necessarily, but rather to paint a setting which complimented the mood of loneliness. I contrasted this with the red colors of the bus and the joviality of the bus driver. The loneliness only applied to the priest and the grave. I wanted it to seem as though the elements of nature were mourning along with the priest. The boy certainly was not lonely. He had, at very least, a girlfriend in his life. The flowers were a symbol; a symbol of the happiness derived from having someone he cared for in his life, which he sacrifices at the graveside for someone who was all alone. Once again there is a monumental contrast. The splash of color is meant to serve in contrast to the idea of loneliness - a clash of two phenomena - the bright colors of the flowers in the midsts of the gloomy cemetery. This might be viewed as Paul leaving a part of himself behind to stand sentinel until his promise of remembrance can be fulfilled.
“I just got out of the hospital. I was in a speed reading accident. I hit a book mark and flew across the room.”
― Steven Wright

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Post by Thebooknerd24 » 22 Jul 2016, 15:38

Thank you for better explaining. When I first read it I thought the boy and the priest were both lonely. My reasoning was because I wasn't sure if the girlfriend the boy was visiting had passed away and he was visiting the girlfriend's grave which would mean the priest and the boy would share loneliness. I have to admit I haven't always been good at picking up on colors setting the mood of a story. Please don't take that as criticism that is more on my end. I am complimenting you because that isn't something I have been very good at depicting in my own writing or anything I think to use as a word picture.

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Post by Sean Bracken » 16 Aug 2016, 10:23

All I can say is that this story is inspirational. Stories from songs is great idea. I might use it myself in my writers group here in Ireland. The idea I mean, not your story. Thanks for posting it.

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Post by DATo » 17 Aug 2016, 02:05

Sean Bracken wrote:All I can say is that this story is inspirational. Stories from songs is great idea. I might use it myself in my writers group here in Ireland. The idea I mean, not your story. Thanks for posting it.
Hi @Sean, and thank you for your response. The thing I like most about short story writing is that you can dash off an idea without having to spend a lot of time developing it as one must do with a novel or novella.

My inspiration for this piece came from one line of the song - Father McKensie, wiping the dirt from his hands as he walked from the grave. I sort of framed a mental picture of this and the rest of the story evolved from that point.

I hope to see some of your work posted here too.
“I just got out of the hospital. I was in a speed reading accident. I hit a book mark and flew across the room.”
― Steven Wright

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Post by Sean Bracken » 17 Aug 2016, 03:26

Hi DATo, Well I only joined a creative writers group last month, but I'm so glad that I did. I've always loved reading but I have to say that I'm thoroughly enjoying writing. I posted my first short story here yesterday. It's called "Megan's Diary". I'd value your opinions if you have time to read it. Regards Sean

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Post by bae_dama » 27 Sep 2016, 23:32

This has me wanting more. It was just beautiful.

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Post by Jimfoxy » 28 Sep 2016, 14:20

I liked the story. The flowers were a nice touch.

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