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The Old Man in the Barn

by Margaret Pan 2 months ago in Fantasy

And odd encounter

Painting by Václav Malý (1903), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

"It's over. I can't do this anymore. I'm done."

"But…I can try to make things-"

"There's no point in trying. I don't want you to try. I can't even stand the sight of you anymore. I'm sorry, but I can't."

He's been playing this scene over and over again in his head for the last couple of days. It happened here, in this old, empty barn on the outskirts of town.

"There's no point in trying."

Sawyer thinks he saw the first signs a while ago. Well, everyone who knew them did. The truth is he's been bracing for it - or so he thought. He thought he was emotionally ready, he thought his emotional armor  was strong enough- but he was wrong.

"I don't want you to try."

One more thing he was wrong about. He was wrong about Carey. He believed Carey was the love of his life. He really thought they would get married, live together, build the life they dreamed about- turned out he was the only one dreaming it .

"I can't even stand the sight of you anymore."

He sighs as he starts pacing around the barn. He feels like he wants to cry, but the tears don't come. Maybe he has run out of them after crying non-stop the last few days.

He has no idea why he keeps coming back to this barn. It is empty, run-down, and, honestly, very creepy. He and Carey found themselves here the other day because Carey was curious about what the barn looked like on the inside. Did anyone secretly live here? Or hid something precious? Maybe the barn was haunted?

By Thom Milkovic on Unsplash

He always complied with Carey's wishes, so he agreed to go inside the barn. As they were taking a look around, they started disagreeing about something - he doesn't even remember what - and got into a heated argument. If he were honest, that was something that was happening a lot lately. Heated arguments out of nowhere, always initiated by Carey.

Everything else afterward feels like a blur. Things escalated quickly, one thing led to another, and then Carey was practically screaming he wanted out of their relationship. 

"It's over. I can't do this anymore. I'm done."

He feels his tears finally coming down his cheeks. Guess he hasn't run out of them after all. Damn, why had things gone to hell? What had he done wrong? How was he supposed to continue his life without Carey? Was there even a life without Carey?

He thought he had time. He thought he could fix things. Revive their relationship. That's what you do when you love someone, right? You try to fix things. You try to pick up the pieces. You try.

"I don't want you to try."

He suddenly hears a loud crack and quickly turns around.

David Petrovich Shterenberg, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

In front of him is standing an old man, probably in his 70's, with long golden hair and a golden long beard. He has a mysterious aura. He is about Sawyer's height and has big, green eyes that resembled his, only they look more tired. He also has - 

Well, that is weird.

The old man has the exact same moles on his face as Sawyer has in his. Two tiny ones around each corner of his left eye and one bigger approximately one centimeter under it.

That is very weird. What's even weirder is that the old man is standing still and remains silent. He's looking at him with pity - or is it sadness? - on his face.

"Hello," Sawyer says.

The man gives him no answer. Does he want something? Is he homeless and lives in the barn? Maybe he's lost - maybe he suffers from Alzheimer's? Is he crazy? 

"Hello," Sawyer repeats, "Is everything okay? Are you lost?"

"Right now, you're the only one in here who's lost", the old man answers.

Oh. Crazy then. Better not to get further involved with him, Sawyer thinks. Just as he starts heading towards the barn's exit, the old man says,

"Heartbreak is an intense thing, right?"

What? 

"Sorry?", asks Sawyer.

"You know, it can keep you down to your knees for a long time if you let it. You coming back here only makes it worse." the old man adds.

Where is the old man going with this? Sawyer thinks. And how does he - 

"I was in your place once", the old man says with a sad smile. "I thought the world had ended. That life wasn't worth living anymore. I thought I would never feel better. But you know what? Day by day, little by little, my wounds started healing."

Sawyer listens to him carefully; he doesn't know why, but he is mesmerized by the old man's words. They are comforting and soothing.

"I promise you, you won't always feel this way. This is not the end - although it might feel like it. Heartbreak and pain are temporary. And they both crack open doorways to new beginnings and new opportunities. Everything will be okay. You will love again- and it will be magnificent", the old man says, with the most genuine smile Sawyer has ever seen.

A loud bang outside makes Sawyer turn momentarily his head to the barn's open window. When he turns back to say something to the old man...he realizes he's gone.

"Uhm...Thank you", he murmurs. He stands still for what feels like seconds, minutes, or even hours, thinking about the surreal encounter he just had as well as each and every one of the old man's words.

Eventually, he exits the old barn, with a soft smile on his lips. This is the last time he comes here.

Somehow, as he's walking back to his home, he feels...lighter. The pain, of course, is still there, lingering inside his heart. But now, he feels something else growing there too: hope; hope that the future will be brighter; hope that his pain will eventually go away. A tiny flicker of hope, reminding him that life is worth living and that, eventually, time heals all broken hearts.

Maritess Sulcer, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Fantasy

Margaret Pan

Words have power.

I write about relationships, psychology, personal development, and books.

https://linktr.ee/margpan

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