Short Story #24

As a writer who sits hunched over a keyboard for hours at a time I’m learning about self-care. Currently my neck is stiff, and I feel dizzy if I turn too quickly and my shoulders, into my arms are tight and painful. I know that I should sit straight up and when I catch myself curved, I lean back, but obviously I haven’t been present and paying attention these last few weeks. These knots give me headaches and a lack of sleep doesn’t help. I have a thing with pillows. I can’t tell you how many I’ve bought, trying to get a comfortable one. I can say that you get what you pay for, so I’m hoping my new one is going to help. We have to remember that we are of no use to anyone else if we don’t look after ourselves.
Today’s story turned out to be a longer one. I hope that you are managing to get time to relax and recharge your batteries and do some things that you enjoy and make your heart sing. Stay safe and have an enjoyable day.

A drop of blood fell to the floor. She pushed the thorn deeper into the pad of her ring-finger, and more crimson liquid the colour of the rose bud she held dripped down her hand. The woody sharp point broke from the stem at the force she exerted on it. The pain was not enough. She raised the glass vase and shattered it against the table, squeezing the jagged shards that remained in her grasp. A sticky pool gathered at her damp feet, wet by the water from the flowers and not tears as she no longer had the ability to shed any. She stared out of the window at the bare trees and grey sky.
The cold and gloomy landscape was much the same as her mental one. But she did not feel the sadness of it. She did not feel anything. Little prescribed green and white answers to all of her problems had robbed her of any emotions. Only physical sensations allowed her to think that she was still alive, and even those were proving insufficient. Was there any purpose to living?
Condemned to be alone and lonely. Her purpose added no value to the world in unsettled times. Once upon a time she had enjoyed such solitude and isolation, but its choice had been free will, not legislated.
Without the transference of energy from some warm human touch or scintillating conversations over coffee to light the spark within her, the will to carry on waned. Her writing had also faded like the sun, because without feeling you could not generate soul. Now she doubted if she had ever been able to create it, and soulless books had no place in the world. Like a barren land cracked by drought, she felt dry and empty. She had always believed her purpose to uplift people with wisdom from the Universe. Only now she was a messenger without a message. The flow had been turned off.
Doubts about her worth that had already existed were magnified. A torrent of sorrow was desperate to be released and water the soil of healing, but because of the blockers the toxins festered unshed in her body and the chemical imbalance grew greater. With the only words she received condescending sing-song tones from the nurses praising her like a child for behaving and taking the poison they dished out.
She believed that there was no more for her to do on earth. With a curved spine and feeble legs from years at a desk and poor nutritional guidance, she found herself dependent on others at the young age of sixty-three. She no longer wanted to be a burden.
As she reached for a piece of sharp glass a note dislodged from the buds and landed on top of them. Who would put a note in the flowers for the room?
Dear Ms Kingston,
This was addressed to her. These flowers were not mere decoration for the room, they had been delivered specifically for her. Why had they not told her this? Or had she forgotten? Or didn’t she care when they told her?
I have no words to convey the depths of my gratitude to you. I have just finished reading your book SELF – Selfish endeavours live free for the second time this week. I know it sounds like exaggeration, but you have saved my life. I never held myself as important before. The lists I made were always of my failings and never of my accomplishments, no matter how small.
I had given up on my life when I received this gift. My lot was to make others happy and ensure their comfort and ease. Thank you for opening my eyes to the fact that I too deserve to be happy. I hope that once we can travel freely again you will agree to meeting me for coffee or a meal. I would love to hear more of your great wisdom.
In the mean time please enjoy the beauty of these flowers as a symbol of the splendour you have helped me find for my life again.
Yours in gratitude,
Elizabeth James

A tear rolled and splashed onto the nine capsules hidden by a trick of the tongue and tucked behind the drawer. She would have to read her own words and remind herself, now that the effects were wearing off. Ms Elizabeth James had just returned the favour in this wonderful validation. She opened her hand and picked out the remaining pieces of glass before wrapping it in a cloth. It shouldn’t be too long before she could write again.

by Debbie Gravett © 2020.12.18

Image by Myriams-Fotos from Pixabay

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