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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Adulthood (07/30/09)

TITLE: A HARD DECISION
By mick dawson
07/30/09


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A HARD DECISION

The dented and scuffed helmet of The Forgotten One shone intermittently in the moonlight as he trudged. All exposed areas of his flesh were covered in bandages. The greased links of his knee length hauberk jingled softly with each step. His hauberk overlapped the tattered remains of a deep blue tunic. An orange crest of a snarling dog was emblazoned across the chest, denoting its wearer as a one time member of the king’s elite; the Blue River Guardsmen.

The long hafted, double-edged axe of a guardsman spun idly in his hand as he walked. He allowed himself to sigh with relief. The streets were on the whole, vacant. The activities of thieves and cutthroats were noticeably less of late.

He began to whistle to himself, as he ambled when he heard something shift overhead. His gaze looked up to see the silhouette of a falling body and out of instinct alone, he held up his arms. The Forgotten One caught the figure with no more effort than a small sack of flour.

He expected to see a face frozen in death, not the dumbfounded looking expression of a young man staring back at him. The Forgotten One lowered the man to his feet, and watched him falter, suddenly sending his hands out to the wall to support himself.

“Are you alright lad?” queried The Forgotten One.

“Aye sir, just a bit shaken.”

“Did someone cast you from the roof?”

“No, I did so myself. I did not expect to survive the fall.”

The Forgotten One guffawed.

“I see what you mean. Normally, once someone jumps from a roof, they are in no position to change their minds. Why did you do such a thing? You do not seem to me to be a fool and you are a good looking young man. I imagine that there is no woman in your life.”

“I have a wife and two sons.”

“Then why?” asked The Forgotten One incredulously.

The young man shrugged resignedly, shaking his head.

“What can I say that would make any sense? My sons ignore me, and my wife berates me continually.”

“A man takes the good with the bad.”

“It is all bad,” erupted the young man. “I thought it would all be grand when I was a boy…”

“What?”

“Marriage, a family; a man knows that he must work to look after them, but there is no returns for my efforts. There is never a thankyou; never I love you father, nor has there been a time of intimacy with my wife for years.

All I hear from her is her telling me that I must work even longer hours to provide for them. I come home after dark as it is to feed an ungrateful family so that they may grow strong and healthy, only to remind me that I am worthless.

I am weary… of late; I have wondered how to relieve myself of my situation. I thought about leaving to start my life anew in another land,” he snorted derisively. “But if I did that, then that would only make it true that I am the worthless cur that she always says I am. There was only one other option,” he said, nodding up to the roof.

The Forgotten One sighed heavily, looking down to the cobbled street.

“We all thought it would be grand when we were young,” he said, softly. “But that is what happens when we reach our adult years. We do things that we do not want to, but know we must. There is every possibility that your family will never love you, but what is to stop you loving them? Do you understand what love is?”

The young man stared in silence.

“Love is staying with the other person, no matter what. I would like to think that you have what it takes to persevere with her, no matter what the pain she puts you through. If you can do that, then you have my respect for you as a man, and in time… perhaps your wife will too.”

The Forgotten One tore his gaze from the watery eyed man, and took up his axe, beginning his trek down the open thoroughfare.

“The choice is yours,” he called over his shoulder as he went.


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This article has been read 460 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lisa Johnson 08/06/09
A very interesting story. It touches on one very important aspect of adulthood.
The Forgotten One sounds like an MC who could be in a series of stories.
Seema Bagai 08/06/09
A creative piece. It kept me interested throughout.
Dolores Stohler08/06/09
Well done. We all have moments when we wish we'd never married. When I'm feeling disgruntled, I make a list of all my partners strengths and soon I'm feeling ashamed of myself for not appreciating him.
Beckie Stewart08/07/09
This is well written piece that does well for the subject.
Lyn Churchyard08/07/09
This has to be one of the very best challenge entries you have done. Excellent take on the topic and very well written.
Ada Nett08/11/09
Many lines in this piece are "thought-provoking"...
Catrina Bradley 08/11/09
Very interesting! and curious! You left me wanting more but also strangely satisfied with what you did offer.
Edmond Ng 08/11/09
You've painted a vivid, yet saddening picture of unrequited love, or maybe a love not mature enough to stay mutual. If marriage is all about perseverance by one, it will not last, because it takes a whole family to make things work with God as the Head of the household.
stanley Bednarz 08/11/09
I enjoy your style. The impressions sneak up and grab me like a warm hug from a lost world. I will try to find your writing in other challenges.

Very important subject on men and where they find worth.

Blessings.
Sara Harricharan 08/12/09
Oooh, indeed a very hard decision, but I wanted to know more about this "Forgotten One" he sounds like he would have plenty of stories to tell!