Short story: Dying a little

He looked out his apartment window and thought, what is life but a waste of time? You’re not in my arms. I would feel complete if I could share what I’m doing with you. But I’m not, so I’m half empty. And in days like these, there’s no romanticizing longing. It just sucks.

He got up from his bed and went into the kitchen. He prepared his leftover meal from last night and microwaved it. He walked towards his bed with dinner in his hands and turned on the TV. He skipped through the channels. There was nothing exciting on. He left it at some sports that didn’t interest him and watched it while he ate before flipping through some more channels. News. Shopping. Drama. Comedy. He kept flipping, then turned it off. He grabbed his phone and browsed through pictures of some vacant chicks he had swiped right a few weeks ago. Feeling crappier, he set that aside too.

He finished his dinner and walked back into the kitchen. He stacked his plate atop a dozen dirty dishes from previous nights. He went into the bathroom to rinse and looked at himself in the mirror. Tired eyes, saggy skin and unshaven face. He speculated a couple of white hairs and the fact that he may be balding. Apathetically, he switched off the lights and walked out. Sitting at the edge of his bed, he rested his face on his hands and sat in silence. There was no TV yapping away, no music, no sound coming from the fan. Everything was dead. He rubbed his face and looked at his rough, withered hands.  Dry and chapped. Bitter and anxious. Confined and mad. The silent room began to scream, and his temples began to throb. With his heart racing and sweat about to sprout, he panicked and got up. He put on his jacket and locked the door behind him. He was out of there.

He pulled out his cigarette and walked down the street that night as the breeze combed through his hair and as the air cooled off his face. Bright lights numbed his brain and he closed his eyes. There were beggars pleading for money and drunkards shouting like hoodlums. It was noise that he wanted after all. It was the caress of the wind, the lure of the lights. He drew his cigarette deep. It was her breath in his lungs. It made him walk onwards, as he died a little more.


2 thoughts on “Short story: Dying a little

  1. It’s an excellent generator of atmosphere and an insightful study of a particular state of mind. You create such convincing pictures I am going to risk offending you with a few suggestions. Look at the whole story – how many sentences begin with ‘he’? Also, how many sentences fail to extend beyond a second clause? Repetition, especially of conjunctions or prepositions, breaks up the rhythm and makes the read ‘choppy’ – it takes the reader out of frame. Would this read better if the sentence length was varied; some long, some short. More impact! It would help with pace, as well, allowing you to convey the lead character’s feeling of hopelessness and despondency in those first paragraphs by instilling a slower rhythm, then picking it up as the atmosphere intensifies later on.
    Pardon my insolence – I never feel qualified to criticize another writer’s work, but I like so much of what you have done, here.

    • Thanks Frederick for your detailed feedback. I’m always trying to improve on how I can better express myself in writing to others. I generally tend to write raw and base it on how I feel at the moment– so sometimes it comes out choppy, sometimes flowy. Receiving suggestions from writers like yourself with many years of experience is always a good thing 🙂 I will definitely keep your advice in mind.

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