22 April 2011

O is for Other People’s Pain

A lot of people in this world are in pain.  Some of them you call friends.  Some of them you call relatives.  Some of them tuck their sorrow inside a false brave shell.  Some of them wear their pain bloodied on their sleeve.

When you see one of your friends in pain.  When they reach out to you with trembling hand and empty cup of solitude.  When they open their mouth to talk and only silence fumbles from their lips.  When their eyes stare forward grey and blank or dance wildly in the dark.  When they need your help and support.  Open your heart and let them in.

This is a story about two such people.

The Sad Boy and the Sad Girl

Part 1: The Sad Boy

Once upon a time there lived a sad girl and a sad boy.

Every day, the sad boy would wake up, take a bath in his aging, stained white tub, brush his teeth exactly 25 times in each of the four corners of his mouth, and then slowly, and with much concentration, comb his hair into a perfectly neat left-sided parting.

The sad boy would then venture downstairs to his kitchen, and prepare his lunch-time meal, every day cutting four equally-sized slices of bread and layering each with a thin film of butter. Carefully, he would wash the knife and dry it off before using it again to slice 4 pieces of tomato and 4 pieces of cheese which he would rest on the slices of bread before meticulously wrapping them in perfectly stretched cling-wrap. The sad boy would pick his keys off the third hook where they were always placed, before opening, closing and locking the door and slowly, very slowly, walking away from his dark, silent life.

Part 2: The Sad Girl

Unbeknownst to the sad boy, across the road lived a sad girl.

Late every night, the sad girl would return home. She would open her door, climb the stairs and draw an ice cold bath whilst she slowly and painfully removed her clothes. With the water still running, she would climb into the bath and, shivering ever so slightly, lie down and watch as the water level slowly rose to cover her body.

When all but her head was submerged, she would turn off the flow of water and lie in silence listening to the slow rhythmic dripping of the water from the tap. Then she would reach for the blunt razor blade resting on the table, and with practiced precision, reopen the wound that stretched across her left wrist and watch as the blood bubbled, collected and dripped into the water. She would breathe out slowly and the beating of her heart would slow until the blood was dripping in perfect rhythm with the water from the tap. And there she would lie. Staring. Unblinking. Emotionless.

Part 3: The Meeting

The sad boy sat on the ground, the cold hard steel and rough texture of the gravel uncomfortable against his body. He unwrapped his sandwiches from the cling-wrap packaging and placed them neatly on the ground. As he lifted the sandwich to his lips, he stopped with his mouth slightly ajar and stared at the girl who was staring back at him. For a full minute the two just froze and looked at each other. Then the sad boy ever so slightly, barely imperceptibly, nodded his head once.

The sad girl moved forward and sat down opposite him. The sad boy offered his hand to the sad girl, who reached out and, without any expression, and without losing eye contact, took the sandwich and slowly bit into it. The sad boy looked down, collected the other sandwich and took a bite out of it, chewing slowly as he stared into the eyes of the girl opposite him.

And there they sat, the sad boy and the sad girl, eye’s locked, connected together in a place so very deep and profound that they didn’t even flinch when the train carried them away.


  1. This is a profound piece... the sadness is all encompassing. Great story Grant

  2. This one is great - hard to put into words the emotions when reading it...