Something Unexpected Happened: A Short Story by K. E. Ward

Something

Haley had been twenty-two years old. She was blessed with thick, auburn hair, which fell to her shoulders. Her brown eyes were clever, and she had a charming, dimpled smile. Her nose was cute and round, her face heart-shaped. She was the darling of her class, growing up. As she grew older, her heart-shaped face lengthened a tad bit, and her neck grew longer and more elegant.

I loved Haley because she was soft-spoken and her words were gentle. I loved her because I considered her brave and assertive, despite her quietness. She was physically beautiful, and her personality became outgoing and even flirtatious. She began her life as a shy little girl, but demanded to increase her strength with assertion.

My name is Andrew, and I miss Haley. She died so unexpectedly. What I remember is being called the day after she had gone to the hospital and the sound of her mother’s grieving voice telling me she was sorry. But she was Haley’s own mother. I should have been the one to tell her I was sorry.

It had been a driving accident. An inebriated driver had swerved into incoming traffic going northbound. There was nothing the doctors could do.

I suppose her mother thought I was someone very important to Haley, because she invited me over to look through her things after a few days. I took one gift home with me, a remembrance and a message for me and my future.

The objects were obviously intended for me; after all, they were wrapped in a box with a tag on it and my name. They were supposed to be a birthday present for me for next month, which was in May. I opened the gift, her mother there, and inside the box we found a brown, leather journal with a fountain pen and stationery. It was her telling me to make a record of my life and share it with others. Through the written word I would fulfill her wishes for me, because I loved her and I wanted to honor them.

So, I started today. I wrote a journal entry and my first letter, which is to my brother in Alaska. I expect to complete the journal and stay in touch with everyone else I love. To Robert I wrote:

“Hi, Brother, I suppose I should fill you in on everything that’s been happening since we last talked. I miss you. I have so much to tell you. Will you promise to keep in touch with me, also?” I continued writing the letter, silently telling Haley, “I love you.” And that was what I would always do. “Thank you, Haley,” and I cried.

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Melissa & Rita: A Short Story By K. E. Ward

Cover

If only I didn’t suffer from this debilitating depression, I thought. But I was often asked to hang out with my best friend, Rita, on days when I didn’t really feel like it. Rita, with curly, red hair, came knocking on my door sometimes in the morning, sometimes in the afternoon, and sometimes in the evening. I never knew when chipper Rita would come, either in person or on the telephone, and want to have some fun.

“Rita,” I said. “I wasn’t expecting you.” But I was. And I hid my sigh. Not that I didn’t love Rita, but I was experiencing symptoms of tiredness and the desire to cry, all the time, and I had to muster energy just to talk to her. I wanted to be uplifting and fun, but it was so hard.

“Hi Melissa! You’ve just got to hear the latest news about Carla! She’s getting married, and she wants me to come.”

“That’s wonderful, Rita,” I said, my voice low and weak, but Rita wasn’t able to pick up on the sarcasm.

“Don’t you want to come with me to pick out a new outfit?”

Normally, I would pretend to have energy and say, “Sure,” but I was feeling more tired than usual. In fact, my thoughts ruminated about my mother, how we never got along growing up, how I didn’t live with anyone else in the apartment and got lonely, how nothing good ever seemed to happen in my life, and how I was no fun and worthless.

How could I tell Rita what I was experiencing? And she was the nicest person I had ever known. That’s why we became best friends. We’d known each other for fifteen years, and our friendship never ended. I said, “I’m sorry, Rita, but I can’t come. I’m not feeling well. I can’t possibly do it. Please go without me.”

Rita frowned. “What’s wrong, Melissa?”

Tears formed in the corners of my eyes. “I can’t tell you.” And it was because I couldn’t put it into words what I was feeling. I felt a physical ache in my stomach, and the emotions were like a fist clenching the insides, so that it was hard for me to let them out; in fact, I didn’t know if I ever could. So, I asked her to leave, watched her leave, and intended to lie down on my bed and curl up until I could go back to sleep.

But I thought about the many years we had been friends, playing on the swing set, going to school dances together, hanging out at the roller rink to skate, eat pizza and drink colas, and even going to the same college. I loved her so much; in fact, in the past, we had had so much fun together that we once promised that we would never lose touch with one another. But I couldn’t see a future for us now. I couldn’t see how I could ever be the fun, upbeat person she needed. I cried so often, when she wasn’t there, that I realized I had a problem, and I wanted help. Because, what if that swing set, the one we both played on, was missing a friend in one of the seats? I couldn’t let that happen. I thought about her, and how I loved her so much that I could not allow myself to drift away in a spiral of sorrow. I could not tear my picture out of the photographs of us together, because it would leave an empty place in her life. I could not leave her. I didn’t want to hurt her. I didn’t see a future for us together, but I wanted to see one. I needed someone to help me do that.

So, I came to realize, that day, that even when we have a wonderful family, great friends, and an amazing support system, sometimes we need a little extra help. That day I made a telephone call to my doctor and told her I thought I had depression and was experiencing suicidal thoughts. My doctor agreed to have me in for an appointment, and immediately I felt a little better, because I knew that help was coming. I immediately felt better also because I knew that I had made the right decision. I visualized the sun of hope coming up from the horizon in my very near future, and I felt more at peace. The good-bye I had said to Rita earlier was not a permanent good-bye, even though I worried that maybe it was. Help would bring us back together. We would always be friends, and no obstacle, even mental illness, could be stronger than the true love we had for one another. I was glad.

 

The End.

New Short Story

Hi everyone, I just published a new short story on my Facebook page, too. It is not published anywhere else, but it will give you a taste of my writing style. New projects I am working on: well, I have been doing a number of paintings lately. I just got some canvases. I have been journaling. Other than that, I am starting a series of four vampire stories, all with female main characters. I am also working on a fantasy piece. I hope you will enjoy the short story I am about to share with you. Have an amazing summer, and I will keep in touch!

Update

Today I made a painting. It’s maybe not my best painting, and it’s certainly not my favorite. But I thought I’d show you a photo of it, to update you about what I’ve been working on. I also picked up another book at the bookstore, and I have included its photo, too.

My Job

I am a legal administrative assistant by trade. I took legal classes in Seattle, after having studied clinical psychology for three semesters. I applied my legal expertise and talent to the writing of my first novel. But now, I would like to talk about law and law practice. The law is the rule by which we live; it is what we must obey to live happily and peaceably. Law practice is the art of enforcing the law. The law tells us to behave in a certain way and not to behave in a certain way. Law changes, that is true, but the meaning remains the same. Law practice enforces the law, which changes, by persuasion and by argument. I decided to be a legal administrative assistant because I wanted to do clerical work (I am good at organizational thought and attention to detail), but I knew I could climb the ladder. I knew I had true talent, because I am good at persuading. But the point is, I believe in truth. One of the mottos of the Dominican Order of the Roman Catholic Church is, “Veritas,” which means truth. Jesus spoke of a truth by which we all must obey, otherwise, to the devil with us. The truth, the little truth, is that we must love, and love honestly. The courtroom tells us to not bear false witness against our neighbor, and so do the Ten Commandments, otherwise it is perjury. I believe, since the Canon Law supersedes country law in all countries, that to dishonor the blessed Virgin Mary is the unforgivable sin, for as a little human being, one who is without any stain whatsoever, she is love, and love itself.

So, I get insecure about my artistic abilities, but I promise you, I did not use a model for this sketch. This sketch, drawn from my imagination, is of my villain, Michael Valentino, formerly called Michael Julian Crawford. As I have mentioned, he is the most highly developed character in my first book. He was born of a Sicilian Mafia boss and a prostitute, abused by them, then raised by humble Italian parents. He grew up, went to school, and joined the Italian military. He came over the United States and went to Harvard Law School, then became an extremely brilliant practicing attorney. He did well at his law firm and became senior partner, controlling most of the business. He rose to fame, made a lot of money, invested it, and acquired companies. He was a modest billionaire with real estate in Manhattan. And thus we have the culmination of the events in the book. Michael Valentino was a strong man, but his weakness was when someone whom he loved was in pain. He would have done anything to erase the lack of confidence and self-criticism in the heroine. Michael Valentino, who is aptly named after the Archangel Michael, is strangely a protector and champion. I mention him right now because I lost the original sketch I made in high school, and I drew this one a few days ago. I am not as happy with this one as I was with the original one, but I thought I did alright. I think the character is so important that I dedicate my thoughts to him quite often.

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Michael Valentino, Villain.