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One Is The Loneliest

Harold lived alone. He rarely went out, having everything from his groceries to his prescriptions delivered to him. He liked to think of himself as mysterious but his high-rise neighbours were more apt to think of him as a recluse.

Since his wife died a couple of years back, Harold gradually discovered the days grew longer without her, not to mention the nights. Coupled with taking his retirement several years ago, he was beginning to feel old. Hell, even his name bespoke another age. Harold? Really?

The sole thing he took great pleasure in was slowly perusing the daily newspaper. None of those tablet thingies, where you need an engineering degree to operate, for him. And, of course, it too was delivered. He particularly enjoyed the crossword puzzles.

The feelings of advanced age seemed to take hold first thing in the morning when he painfully swept his legs out of bed, placed his feet unsteadily onto the floor and achingly bent to rummage in his bedside table drawer for his various little plastic bottles of medication. His prescriptions came in arcane containers with those child-proof lids. He thought the drug companies really got their money's worth because he, and he imagined many others of his age, couldn't open them either without considerable difficulty.

Then as he frustratingly watched the television morning news program which ran through stories so quickly as to espouse any actual details he'd realize the volume was pushed to the maximum. "Damn" he'd say to no one in particular "I forgot to put my hearing aids in again, shit."

That was something else he found after living alone for several years: his vocabulary had gone where no man had gone before. Well, sure, maybe many others did talk that way but he never had. Until now. "Ha, man of mystery" he thought to himself, "with a fucking mouth like a cement mixer operator." Not that he had anything against cement mixer operators. He just figured many of them probably talked like that.

Such frustrations marked each day and he often found himself so wound up he'd have shortness of breath. It was during one such harrowing experience that he began to chuckle as he gasped for breath.  "Here I am living alone" he thought, " no friends or family. Should I actually die from one of these wheezing fits, I can just see the inscription on my headstone: 'He died a mysterious death'."

"How apropos" he thought. "In death as in life."

This week's prompt from the creative folks at Studio30+ is arcane/mysterious. This week I was a real keener and used both words.


Cheryl said…
What an amazing piece of writing, John. Really well done.
nonamedufus said…
Thanks, Cheryl. Just stretching my wings a bit.
Malisa Wood Hargrove said…
I am very impressed. I have missed your writing. I must admit that I definitely understood Harold's life.
Joanne Roth said…
I found this to be touching, true and beautifully written.
nonamedufus said…
Thank you Joanne. Please feel to drop by again and leave similar comments.
Jayne said…
Duf, this is wonderful. You captured this character's humanity so beautifully. Loved this passage "...age seemed to take hold first thing in the morning when he painfully
swept his legs out of bed, placed his feet unsteadily onto the floor and
achingly bent to rummage in his bedside table drawer..."
Jayne said…
Not only stretching your wings, my friend, but soaring. :)
nonamedufus said…
Jayne, I've been going in a bit of a different direction the last couple of weeks and I'm quite pleased with the results. Thanks.
nonamedufus said…
Oh my. Thanks, Jayne.
Christa said…
This is amazing - I loved the details in this piece. Very well written!!
Love this... a wonderfully accurate picture of how age is creeping up on all of us. (I become more of a recluse every day... destined to die a mysterious death.)
nonamedufus said…
Thank you! You're too kind.
nonamedufus said…
There are some, ahem, autobiographical elements in here.
ReformingGeek said…
Nice job. Do you feel a wee bit older today?
nonamedufus said…
You hush now about my wee bits.
Indigo Roth said…
Dude, nice bit of work! Roth
nonamedufus said…
Thank you kind sir.

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