As part of the A to Z Challenge, through the month of April I’ll be posting a story a day based on photographs by Joseph T. Richardson and prompts given to me by blog-friends.
Writing prompt: It was too good to be true…
Provided by: Vidya Sury, friend, fellow writer, and one of the magnificent Seven of #TeamDamyanti
That year Sam found his first grey hair, he picked up the habit of talking in phrases he’d read in books.
A man can be destroyed but not defeated, he would say, or Your children are not your children, or, God never made a promise that was too good to be true; as if those phrases would fend off the years.
His wife wondered if had taken up with a girlfriend. He practised yoga, downed wheatgrass and celery juice, gave away his bottles of expensive wine, turned vegan.
He sat entire evenings in his study, the lights ablaze, staring at the paintings on the wall: amorous couples, flowers, children. So much life, such beauty, and there he sat, not growing any longer, decaying that very moment.
When his wife asked him why he sat so quiet, It’s called meditation, he said, you should try it some time. The best things in life are free.
The year they diagnosed him with diabetes, he did not speak to his wife for a week.
In three words I can sum up everything I know about life: it goes on, he said afterwards, and doubled the exercise, halved his food. He soon looked like his shadow self. His wife protested. It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not, he said, and munched on more lettuce. His eyes sank into their sockets, ready to go to sleep, his skin wrinkled like of a man twice his age and yet he ploughed on.
I’m not afraid of death; I just don’t want to be there when it happens, he said to anyone who asked how he was. But you’re not dying, they said. You begin to die the minute you’re born, Sam withdrew into his study, where a treadmill now took pride of place.
That day they took him to the hospital, short of breath and chanting, Death is nothing at all, it does not count, he had jogged ten kilometers. His wife walked with him as they wheeled him into surgery, Do shut up, Sam, she said.
If you want me again, look for me under your boot soles. He closed his eyes and smiled. Play it, Sam, his wife said, Play it again, but he did not hear her.
Are you taking part in the A to Z challenge? Do you read or write fiction? Ever write based on a prompt? Do you ever wonder about aging, death? Why, why not?
Well told story. I think about death and aging much more now that I’m getting older and watching my mother age. I see my late father in me as I watch my adult children having their own families. Life does go on.
Wrote By Rote
An A to Z Co-host blog
Ah, to give up… slowly but surely… yet there is a measure of peace at the very end… this one is poignant…
So good! Your flash fiction is fantastic! I thought at the beginning you said you didn’t normally write flash fiction, but maybe you should. You’re really gifted.
You know what, Damyanti? I believe this story. I’ve seen varying degrees of this. Talk about living in a make-believe world!
Great treatment to the prompt! 😀 I wonder how you do it. You’re traveling. You’ve got limited internet. You’re busy with family stuff offline. And yet you turn out story after magnificent story. Hugs! So glad we chatted!
Such conversations … a wonderfully absurd take on life and his living – and dying – by mantras. Play it again Sam…
Yes aging and death are worth feeling and thinking about. Thank you for this post and have a great weekend!
Garden of Eden Blog
Amazing story. It’s so sad and yet it put a smile on my face at the same time. Great work.
I have no idea how you write a story a day–and all wonderful.
I love this! Great writing!
This one really tugged on my heartstrings. Well done.
I can’t believe you are managing to get through one of these each day! You’ll enjoy your Sundays off though 🙂 Thanks for the follow, by the way; much appreciated!
Lovely theme Vidya and what a unique take and splendid narration Damayanti!!! *bows down with respect for the narration*
Participant|AtoZ Challenge 2014
Smile, it makes (y)our day!
I read and re-read this, and will probably read it again; there’s so much in life to enjoy that we often don’t appreciate it until we see and feel it slipping away as we make our final grasps to hold onto it. A great story…
Wow! Sad but so distinct and beautiful! <3
Jamie Dement (LadyJai)
My A to Z
Caring for My Veteran
Wow, and all that started over a gray hair?
Patricia Lynne, YA Author
Read it twice, specially for the choice of words. *inspired*
The man who talked in phrases. This was done beautifully, the sad absurdity of life.
So sad – and yet so frightening!
You have a wonderful gift for bringing the absurd into the realm of believable. Great story.
This is such a sad story, but so beautifully written.
Agree that The best things in life are free.But when we lose them,they cost us everything.
This is a great, complicated story. I love it.
Great theme and lovely story 🙂 Good luck with the rest of the challenge honey xx
Beautifully narrated, Damyanti. Weird is the new normal and such a powerful-cum-inspiring read:)
Bizarre, but powerful. I want to know what happens next! Does he really die or is it the anesthetic that knocks him out to not hear anything??? Intriguing 🙂
“So much life, such beauty, and there he sat, not growing any longer, decaying that very moment.” Such fine prose!
So very sad, what a way to end your life!
Oh, this was quite clever! I think it was the beginning of the end when he gave away his wine *shakes head*
Echoes of Olympus
A to Z #TeamDamyanti
🙂 Well said, Sam!
An eloquent tale of self destruction, and I love the platitudes…superb way of illustrating his disconnection.
You packed a lot of life into this short post, Damyanti. I loved reading how Sam cycled through different phases of thinking and being: acceptance, inertia, activity, and finally, it seems to me, some measure of peace. A good story and a good ending. Indeed, as Frost wrote, the meaning to life is that “it goes on”!
When I’d finished reading this I simply sat and stared at the computer screen for 10 minutes. It was stunning, I thought. Thanks.
Beautiful. Simply beautiful.
Wow! Your mind must be an awesome place. I read your posts, and I am usually speechless when I finish these stories. Keep them coming! 🙂