I’m slowly dwindling out of writer friends to bug about Sharing Sunday. So I’m opening it up to you guys. Come and help me share some amazing stories. Send them to my mandi(at)dreamingfullyawake(dot)com with a little bio and you can get your story, song, anecdote showcased on here!
Today’s story is by Jess, one of the first friends I made at NMIT! She’s pretty rad. I hope you enjoy her piece. It’s an excerpt from a collection of short stories. She wanted to explore the private lives, a side that is almost never shown in a short story. Leave her some love.
Robert J Browning
When Robert J Browning was just six years old his mother and father sat him down on the worn family sofa and informed him of his genius. Robert had already informed himself of this fact some time before. Being precocious and an only child had reinforced his sense of self-importance since birth.
Mother and Father then took him to a new school where he fulfilled his excellence in all areas and also took up piano, for which he was given the additional title of prodigy.
On finishing his education with all the proper ceremony and pomp he was due, he continued to excel at life in general. Of which his mother cried tears of unadulterated pride and his father was exceedingly pleased.
His career in law saw him never lose a case. He married a beautiful society woman of great wealth who bore him two beautiful blonde children. A boy and a girl. No-one could have asked for a more perfect life.
So when on the 12th of June in the thirtieth year of life, Robert J Browning was witnessed to park his car tidily in the middle of the Westgate Bridge, walk around from the driver’s door, climb the safety barrier, and jump, it would be safe to say no-one had seen it coming.
The biggest shock was still to come. For when found barely conscious and taken to hospital, it appeared that Robert J Browning was in possession of a third, less lauded gift. One he had repressed all of his life. Empathy. For he had not forgotten the worn sofa of his childhood home, or the struggle of daily life. In his work he’d seen the face of desperation and it still hungered and lived. He saw the handbags and shoes worth thousands of dollars that his wife purchased on their joint credit card. Once he had opened himself to this hornet’s nest the natural result was, of course, severe depression. It appeared that the great big brain of Robert J Browning could no longer cope with the ludicrous nature of a world in which people went starving while others wore Louis Vuitton. A world of madness and stupidity had overwhelmed Robert J Browning and he would never be the same again.
Bob stretched. One arm flung up and over the rough wood of the bench and the other to the ground, fingers trailing in the dirt. His legs lengthened in relief as he yawned up at the sky, feeling the sun warm his face. He knew it would be a fine day by the red filtering through the lids of his eyes. A light breeze set the newspapers to flapping. He opened his eyes as a few sheets blew away, tumbling in wide arcs across the grass.
Smiling in foggy abandonment, delighting in his ownership of the empty park, he thanked the gods for spring and summer and all warm weather.
Standing, joints creaking, he shuffled about picking up fluttering sheets. He scanned the bin before shoving the used paper in.
‘Nothing,’ he muttered, shaking his head at his own foolishness, ‘too early.’
Once more he stretched, now standing, arms to the sky. His stomach growled angrily.
‘Jesus,’ he stated out loud. ‘Can’t a man enjoy a moments peace from his own needs?’
Bob walked slowly towards the St. Heliers St exit. A feed at Lentil as Anything would sort him out for the day.
About the Dreamer:
J.T. Tait: writer, mother, humanist, lush.