From Imaginary Ripples · Stories

Fragments III: Sweetest Sadness

The sweetest sadness consumed the young man as he sat incapable of speech. The light of the room belied the darkness of the night and the deep melancholy within his soul. He sat and he pondered, as great men have been wont to do. He pondered on the vastness of existence, and of the infinitesimal life he would lead. A brief moment lying between two eternities, engulfed in a vast and desolate nothingness. He pondered the slow pounding in his chest and the ease with which it could be silenced. That it could be stilled as though one were but extinguishing a candle, a mere indistinguishable one amongst millions. His thoughts were the deepest black. His slow breathing and calm demeanour belied the inner anguish, a pain that coursed through his veins, through his life, through his very existence. Inescapable torment consumed his very essence. He sighed. It was not a loud sound yet it seemed, for but the briefest moment, to fill the room. The air swirled and for that moment the room seemed to have life. His chest heaved with the sigh, not a sudden movement nor a violent movement and yet, had there been one there to observe they would have been shocked by the enormity of it, infinitesimal in motion and yet all-consuming to the room. It was the man’s first movement in a seeming eternity, an eternity that stretched back further than he could remember and that had been but an instant in arriving. His downward cast face pointed his stare at the floor just beyond his outstretched feet, a stare that never went anywhere. His eyes where open but they did not see, they merely looked. His mind saw bleak emptiness and naught but the sweetest sadness.

A noise broke his reverie. Outside, in the cold and swirling mist a falling branch struck the ground. The crack of the branch resonated throughout the still night, the snaps of the twigs rattled in harsh counterpoint. The man’s head snapped up, a violent and jarring motion, his now-alert eyes swivelling in the direction of the sound. His body tensed, prepared to leap to action. He let himself relax as he heard no other sounds through the chill of the winter’s night. Bitterly he shook his head. He was angry. Angry that he had fallen into such careless and useless melancholy and angry that he had been jolted from its enthralling sweetness. He discarded the notion of returning to its alluring embrace, knowing that it would be but a hollow after-taste of its former agony. He sighed again and stood, folding his dark grey cloak about himself to ward against the icy air.

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