What Have I Done
The Breaking of a Man’s Mind
Everything was blissfully perfect. There was no where to go and no where he’d rather be. His safe haven was whatever he chose it to be; sometimes he liked deserts, other times he preferred jungles. Wherever he was, he was content with being alone. His own company was all that he ever needed because no one would understand him better. He desired no one, and no one desired him. He was happy. He was content. He was everywhere and no where. Everything was utterly, blissfully, perfect.
Martin set the novel down on his knee. He had read that passage numerous times before, and yet it struck him the same way every time. The fireplace’s crackling disturbed his thoughts and drew his attention. Orange light bathed the living room furniture and cast ugly, dancing shadows behind him. Now that Martin had returned to the land of the thinking, he realized it was sprinkling outside. He couldn’t remember the last time there was good, heavy rain. The plants would appreciate the drink.
Leaning back into the leather couch, Martin’s drowsy eyes wandered to the mantelpiece. He couldn’t see it in the dark, but he knew there was a picture frame lying flat on its face, perhaps covered with a carpet of dust. ‘I’ll clean it. It needs a good clean.’ He thought this, but didn’t move.
He listened to the drip-drop of rain on his roof. It was a soothing, rhythmic sound. How strange it was that man, no matter how old, could appreciate nature’s lullaby. He supposed that one could never quite grow out of the desire to be comforted. That was perhaps why humans sought partners. Perhaps that was why he—
His mistakes were erased when he was alone. He could do whatever he wanted. If no one was with him to condone him for his actions, then they simply have never existed. He was allowed to be himself, he was allowed to be the best version of himself. His sins did not follow him to his land of safety. He had done nothing wrong. His chains were gone. He was free.
The paragraph was underlined in old, smudged pencil. He remembered buying it from the used book store with—
He remembered buying it from the used book store and wondering how many hands it had passed through. The first thing he had noticed was how many different shades of ink were stained throughout the novel. It fascinated him to read underlined passages, because he couldn’t help but imagine what it meant to the previous reader. Perhaps that was why he had read it so many times. Each sentence was a clue to not only the author’s mind, but to the lives of the ones who marked it. It was baffling to think so many had returned it. ‘Well, I suppose if they hadn’t, then it would’ve never ended up in my possession.’
The novel was bold and different. It was what caught his eye in the first place. Its paper cover was torn, and the pages themselves were so yellowed and fragile he was afraid they would turn to dust under his fingertips. He wondered how anything so unique could be so carelessly mishandled. He had passionately complained about it the first time he read it all the way through, when he had been utterly blown away by its contents, its ending, its everything, when he had never felt so entranced by a story, when he had never been so in love with anything’s imperfections, in his mind it didn’t need to be anything different other than to be by his side, to be his forever, to never return to the previous hands it passed through, to the ones that mishandled her so, how could she ever leave him for someone who only marked her up and left her in ruins, he had fixed her up, cared for her, delicately turned her pages, kept her on his shelf when he didn’t need her, only picked her up when he was low or in need of the comforting mankind so deeply desired, he needed her, he wanted her, how could she not see that everything he did was for her own good, her own protection, how could she not see that how could she leave him how could she how could she how could she how could
Everything was blissfully perfect. There was no where to go and no where I’d rather be. My safe haven was whatever I chose it to be; sometimes I liked deserts, other times I preferred jungles. Wherever I was, I was content with being alone. My own company was all that I ever needed because no one would understand me better. I desired no one, and no one desired me. I was happy. I was content. I was everywhere and no where. Everything was utterly, blissfully, perfect.
What a great, impactful statement. I wonder how the author could’ve ever thought of it. If only I could meet him and ask him in person. I would shake his hand and show him the copy I own, show him that I appreciate his writing so much I had read it dozens—no, hundreds!—of times with the crappy edition I bought. I’d show him how much I admire it, how much I cared for it. I’m sure he’d appreciate my care, my love for his creation.
I inhaled the moist, rainy air that drifted in from an open window. I had cracked it open a few days ago because there was this awful, musty smell that was stinking up the house. It was especially strong in the living room. Instead of clearing out the scent, it only became worse.
I am alone now. There isn’t anyone to escape from.
My mistakes are erased when I am alone. I can do whatever I want. If no one is with me to condone me for my actions, then they simply have never existed. I am allowed to be myself, I am allowed to be the best version of myself. My sins did not follow me to my land of safety. I have done nothing wrong. My chains are gone. I am free.
About the Creator
I’ve been a storyteller for as long as I can remember. Every chance I could get I was either writing, drawing, or telling anyone who’d listen my stories. Throughout high school I self published three books on Amazon. Enjoy my short stories!
There are no comments for this story
Be the first to respond and start the conversation.