This story is by Daniel Bradley and was part of our 2016 Winter Writing Contest. You can find all the Winter Writing Contest stories here.
It all changed on the 18th November 2016 at 20 past midnight. My father who was ill and battling cancer, lost that day. My world came crashing down. I had suffered with depression for years and this ruined me and my family.
Seeing the body lay there, cold and uninviting. I took his hand and it wasn’t warm. The warmth of my father love had passed. My mother and sister sit at his bed side crying with a never ending streams of tears coming down there face. I try to be strong and comfort them.
I withdrew into my world, the world of my imagination which was a stark contrast to reality. My world full of wonder and absolute perfection as I imagined perfection is. I imagined a castle surrounded with mountains all around and a river around the castle like a moat. The fauna and flora, all beautiful and magnificent in all the colours anyone could imagine there was.
Reality was cold and empty, all that was left was the sorting through my dad’s belongings and his affairs. A task I dreaded and after thinking of the task would retreat into my castle behind the impenetrable walls. But as I try, a word or touch would shake me from paradise to the dark world I was trying to ignore.
The following days I have off work and not knowing how to feel or what to do, only that I wish I was somewhere else. My mind would scream at me to run away from everyone into the deep recesses of my world and fantasy I had created.
I wasn’t grieving I was compressing all my emotions down, knowing that I would explode like Yellowstone park and hurt those around who loved me. People would ask, “how are you?” and “is there anything we can do?”. Those questions I hated because it would bring back all the emotion and turmoil, the tears would start to roll down my face and it was difficult to control soon I was like a waterfall. The people who asked meant well and didn’t mean any malice. I would bite my tongue and hate them for asking and then hate myself for hating them. My mind would go round and round in circles and again I would go back to paradise.
I would look out at my kingdom and imagine being cheered. I would walk out among the crowd and mingle with people and laugh and smile. Then I would be rudely brought back to the real world by a touch and grunt and scream at the person who did it. Why can I not be left alone to daydream forever and ever and not worry about the necessities of life, why do people need to be concerned with me and my grief I would ask day after day.
I was troubled by the world around me and didn’t want any help or sympathy, I wanted peace and solace. The more I contemplated the facets of what I was after I would become dissatisfied with the world I created. I pushed the thoughts to the back of my head and ignore the inner voice of wisdom.
I continued to indulge in my fantasy and breathe more life into it than I did before. My relationships with my mum ad sister would suffer and I would drift away from my friends and peoples concern would get less and less. I began to feel that people didn’t care, and not realise it was me, who was causing me to suffer.
The more the suffering became more unbearable the more I lay on my bed and think of a brighter world. I loved being king on of my world and loved all the praise I would heap upon myself from within my head.
Then out of the blue a friend came to see me and spent some time with me. He would leave till I confessed my feelings. For the first time I’m feeling better, I begin to question reality and which I want to find permanence in. I’m wondering if the world I created is really perfect and then I question my sanity.
I lay on the bed again trying to sink back in the place I feel safe. When I arrive there everything is dark, the sun is crimson red and everyone has abandoned my kingdom. My paradise turns into hell and I scream to return to the real world. Then I leap from the bed and then reality, the real world although harsh seems good and whole. I ask myself why did I let thongs get that far.