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In the Motel Room: Duncan comes face to face with his grief and loss
Posted by Douglas, Nov 25, 2008. 2296 views. ID = 2052

In the Motel Room

Posted by Douglas, Nov 25, 2008. 2296 views. ID = 2052
This post was written in 51 minutes.
This is the fourth part written today. Make sure you check to ensure you've read all the previous chapters!

One more...
This post has been awarded 15 stars by 3 readers.
This post is Part 17 of a writing series titled Kindle.

Back in the motel once again, Duncan sat on the edge of his bed and stared moodily at the painting of the sailboat. It brought no peace. Tonight, at last, there was no going back, no going home. Becca had moved on, she had been kindled; her dream had been shattered beyond recovery. Like the ladybug whose home was on fire there was nothing to go home to; all the dreams and hopes were wrapped up in that which was no more.

There was nothing left.

Duncan began pacing the room, slowly at first, then more anxiously, and then with the fierce anger of a lion caged at a zoo with nowhere to turn, nowhere to go but his tiny enclosure. He wanted to scream. He wanted to throw clocks and lamps and ashtrays at the walls. He wanted to smash the television, kick furniture, and tip it all over with a crash against the floor.

Instead he sat at the small plastic laminate desk in the corner of the room and stared, unseeing, at the sheaves of brochures and leaflets the management left in his room every morning. Restaurant coupons, festival announcements, theater production handbills, church advertisements - all were stacked in a disorderly pile under his fingertips. They had been collecting here since the first night of his stay. He picked up the top one and read it, not understanding or even noticing a word of what he'd read. Then another, and another, never noticing that he had read the same announcements ten times in less than twenty minutes.

Then the stack was discarded and upside down on the floor. Duncan stood and paced around the room twice, but came back to stare at the pile of papers again. Something about that disorderly stack seemed to be calling out to him. Something...

He picked the sheaf up and laid it back on the desk. He stared at the blank back-side of the last flyer. Something...

Then, with a suddenness beyond insight, he knew what it was.

He sat again at the desk and pulled a pen from the cheap plastic pen holder. With trembling hands and anxious, frenetic strokes he began to write. The words poured out of him like an unstoppable flood, filling the page with a suddenness that shocked him. He barely knew what he was writing, but he knew - he knew that it was right, it was what needed to be written.

I walk among you, but I am not of you. I stand on the same street corners, ride the same buses, climb the same stairs as you, but you do not see me, you do not hear me. I breathe the same air, taste the same food, smell the same roses as you, but these do not touch me, for I am nothing.

Page after page he wrote, not stopping to think, not stopping even to breathe, simply pouring out the pain and the grief of his loss. The words were his paints, the page was his canvas, and throughout the night he burned through canvas after canvas as he wrote the story of who he was, and what he had endured.

At two o'clock in the morning he paused. Not because he was done, but because his eyes would no longer focus, and the trembling of his hands made it impossible to hold the pen. He stumbled to the tiny bathroom and splashed water into his face. He stared into the mirror.

He had seen those eyes before. Those eyes were not his eyes. Bloodshot and tired, but more than that, they were ravenously hungry. They were the eyes of the poet who lost his wife to the sea. They were eyes that had been kindled.

Duncan slumped to the floor behind the bathroom's closed door and shut his bloodshot eyes, trying to remember. What was it Herald had said? In a way, she's just a means to an end for me.

Becca. She was never the real project. She was merely the means to an end. This end.

The irony of his situation made him want to cry and laugh, both at the same time.

Duncan sat on the floor for nearly twenty minutes, until he knew he could sit still no longer. He left the bathroom then, and as he re-entered the room, his right hand reached out and spastically clutched at a heavy glass ashtray. He paced the room slowly, his eyes darting to and fro, from wall to wall, from bed to bureau, never stopping, never resting.

Until he saw it. Or, rather, until he didn't see it. There, on the wall, there should have been a painting of a sailboat, but though there was nothing between Duncan and the painting, he could not make himself see it.

With a sudden and swift motion, he hurled the ashtray toward the wall, in the direction he could not see, certain that it would strike the Kindle who stood over his shoulder, watching him write.

Either he was wrong, or Herald predicted this move; the glass ashtray smashed against the painting with all the force of Duncan's throw. Both the ashtray and the painting crashed to the floor in pieces.

Duncan screamed, not caring that the neighbors on either side were sleeping. He picked up the clock, yanking it out of the wall socket, and threw it after the ash tray. "I am not a toy, Herald," he shouted. "I am not a plaything for the gods. I am not a mindless sheep to be mercilessly herded and driven to a destiny of your choosing! I will not be forced!" A lamp followed the ashtray and the clock, shattering against the wall and raining tiny shards of glass onto the floor.

If Herald was in the room, he said nothing; the only sound was a muffled pounding on the wall from an irate neighbor.

Empty and despairing, Duncan sat again at the desk and stared at what he had written. He had left off in mid-sentence. Without stopping to think, he picked up his pen to finish the sentence. And the next.

The stack of pamphlets was used up long before Duncan was. He finished on blank pages he tore from the back of a Gideon's Bible in the desk drawer. If the Bible had not been there, he would have written on his arm.

At five-thirty in the morning Duncan stared at his finished work, and he knew it was good. He laid his head down on top of the stack and fell immediately asleep.

He never heard the soft opening and closing of the door behind him.

Copyright 2008 Douglas. All rights reserved. has been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work. For permission to reprint this item, please contact the author.

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This post has been awarded 15 stars by 3 readers.
This post is Part 17 of a writing series titled Kindle. The next part of this series can be found here: Magnum Opus.
This is a revised version of a post. Click here to view the original version

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