The Writer ~ A Short Story

I’m not going to pretend that parts of this aren’t a little autobiographical. It didn’t take long to write, and I haven’t edited it. It’s a little melancholy, but I’m happy with it, for now. I’m throwing it out there before I change my mind.

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The cold, pallid light of the winter afternoon crept around the curtain’s periphery. The man lay motionless, staring at the all too familiar patch of ceiling, just willing himself to get up and start the day before there was no day left. Some days, this was a Herculean task. Today was clearly one of those days.

With a belaboured groan, he finally rolled himself off the bed, pulling on yesterday’s clothes half-heartedly. Opening the curtains, he stood and watched the outside world for a while, debating whether he’d join them today. Probably not. He didn’t feel like he could put on that mask, cover up the depression and self-loathing long enough to smile and nod at other peoples’ problems over coffee.

He stumbled groggily into the kitchen. Truthfully only a small corner, tucked away at the back of the tiny living room, with only an empty fridge and electric oven. The remains of a takeaway meal from fuck knows when sat on the side. He threw it in the vague direction of the microwave, casting out a quick prayer to anyone who’d listen that it was still edible.

He knew his bank account was nearly empty. The advance he’d received from his publisher had long been spent, and what did he have to show for it? A blank page in an electronic document that he was afraid to face. How could he profess to be a writer when he couldn’t even bring himself to get a single word down? He’d long given up trying, all the self doubts whispering at him, taunting.

He lit up his last cigarette. No money for food, no money for smokes. He’d truly woken up on the wrong side of capitalism today.

His final stop was the living room itself. He hated this room more than any other because it reminded him of her. How long had it been since she left? He’d lost count of the days, yet her distinctive perfume smell lingered, corrupting everything it touched in this room, creeping through the furniture like a ghost. Before she’d left, she’d said he had become impossible to live with. The hell of it all was, she was right.

Something played on the television. A rerun of some old murder mystery show, background noise. He took the last drag of the cigarette, sat back and sighed, wallowing in memories and despair.

He felt so pointless on days like today.

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