A Story by KWP

Task #2


I used to have a friend who lived her life through self-help books and paraphrased quotes from spiritual gurus. Every time I saw her she’d try and mend my existence with a little snippet from the latest best-selling ‘You Can Do It’ book. She believed that the universe, every so often, sent you a life line, ‘in the form of light’ she said, ‘because that's all we are you know, manifested light.’ 

I needed a lifeline. I could manifest a man to love me, hold me, yeah, he’d hold me and never let me go. Maybe he could even rescue me "just a little bit.

When I met Kurt.The guru friend was first to come to mind.

‘Oh s**t,’ I thought, ‘all these years she’s been right.’ 

My face was a map of mascara smears with no predetermined destination when I met Kurt. My tear stained eyes were bulging, red-lined and resembling what I’ve always imagined the innards of bulls testicles to look like. I’d applied and reapplied my lipstick so many times a mini Grand Canyon was forming around my mouth and I stank wretchedly from a fifteen-hour stint of tequila, vodka and now in honour of my dead father, brandy. 

The drinking. It was nothing new. An outsider peering in like a peep, quite possibly would label me  a drunk. I’ve always been in control. How could I not when I’ve been exposed to the stuff my entire life? The alcohol does not make me psychotic or anger me easily. Life is what molded and shaped my bitter personality.

Dad was a heavy drinker. Died from the booze. He had a reason to drink himself to the grave. That reason, the mother will never know. The mother who literally went nuts when was I born. The mother who didn’t even have the capacity to look after me. She walked out when I was eight weeks old. Not even a single glance back in our direction.

I’d never go the same way dad did. He just gave up in the end. The booze took his spirit. After your spirits gone, what’s left?

I was in O’Shannasy’s, my new pub. I’d been banned from the previous three. It was after two in the morning. I may have fallen asleep at the bar because I woke with a thud and my head was pounding unusually harder than I remembered.

‘Hey there, you okay?’ 

My half opened blurred eyes came back to focus at a slumbering snails pace. When my vision returned to normal, I welcomed the view of floppy dark curls dancing around a strong cut, yet soft, grabbable face. After scanning this man's face like a fine oil painting my eyes came to rest together with his. It wasn’t the two solid balls of dark warmth drawing me in. No, it was what they exuded. They emitted certain kind of compassion that, until that very moment I’d never known existed. His eyes caught me, wrapped me like a tiny tight bundle of simmering luminosity. Promising that everything was going to be fine.

He flicked a light inside me that had never before been switched on. It shimmered its own intensity, and I for the first time, a feeling of being radically conscious enveloped. It was him, the captivating offering of the very core of his attention. 

Without a word he picked up my chilled hands and lay them in his. Like his eyes, they were flushed with thermal tenderness. He was touching me, actually physically and purposefully holding my hands and in that hold, he transmitted a rush of emotion similar to that of sitting under the warm tap in a filling bath. I read an article earlier in the week at how important it is for single people to experience human touch. So much love is transmitted simply by touching. We all need love. I needed for this touch to never end.

‘You look upset, why don’t you tell your friendly bartender your woes?’ 

‘Oh, I’m fine, really. Just a hell of a few decades is all.’ 

‘Few decades! That’s grim. Talk to me. Looks like it’s just you and I left here tonight. You have all the time in the world. Go ahead let go your woes, disheveled little lady.’

‘Oh god, tell me I don’t look as bad as I think I do.’ 

‘Okay, I won’t tell you, you look even worse than you think.’ He said with such lightness I knew how I looked no longer mattered.

How is it that, bam, you can meet someone, and just by the little things they do and say mixed with the person that they are, can leave you thirsting to drink their essence and hope you will never ever be satiated? 

‘I will mention, this disheveled, kind of messy slash crazy look is the new sexy. I’m Kurt. And you my disheveled princess are?’ 

‘You got to be kidding me. Sexy? I’m Kate.’ I laughed. I hadn’t laughed in forever. 
‘Okay Kate, where do want to start, which decade? Unload I promise you will feel the weight of the decades drift away.’ 

Kurt was my gift of a lifeline. He had noticed me, actually noticed I existed. I imagined he’d slipped out of some other reality and slid perfectly into mine. As he was a lifeline, it would have been rude of me not to comply and tell him the story of my life this far. He was here for me.

Taking the last swig of my hour old brandy I started with mum incapable mother leaving.

‘This is not a tale of pastels,’ I said, ‘I hope you like the grey scales.’ 

‘Oh, you mean like, grey clouds, silver lining type thing?’ 

I smiled backwardly. Did he know he was my silver lining?

Kurt busied himself behind the bar while I talked. He’d nod in my direction or pass a, ‘oh that’s s**t’ comment when stuff got real bad. When he was far enough away I pulled out my makeup and tried to dab enough foundation on my face to bring me back to looking less like a crazed maniac and more like a level headed woman, who can in fact, deal with the world around her. 

Kurt made sure my water was continually full as I ventured from childhood to rotten teenage years and then into adulthood. He was right, as I talked I did notice myself feel lighter for it. Either that or I was so deprived of sleep everything became distorted. 

‘It will get better you know, it can get better from right now.’ He said at five am, when we exited the pub, Kurt locking and double doors behind him. 

‘You think so?’

‘My princess of the night, I know so. Thank you for sharing the wee hours with me. I need to get home and sleep. I open up again at eleven am tomorrow. Are you okay to get home?’ 

‘Yeah, I live up here, perhaps I will see you tomorrow?’ I would definitely see him tomorrow!

‘It would be my absolute pleasure to see you princess, but get some sleep first okay. And no drinking, well at least until you are under my supervision.’ He reached his arms around me then, pulled me to him so swiftly my breath momentarily got trapped in my chest. Encompassing me in his lifesaving arms for what seemed like hours, I exhaled, feeling like I was home. Did he know my desire to beat within his rhythm? 

‘Be good to yourself Kate.’ He said, leaving me ssmouldering in traces of his being.

Back in my tiny flat, I re-lived every infinitesimal second he and I spent together. I cursed myself for looking so bad and saying stupid things. I smiled when I remembered his eyes, him taking my hands, his breath so close to mine it crossed like a zephyr. I closed my eyes and felt his arms around me all over again. Next time I saw him, I promised myself, I’d be sober and I’d look like the princess he said I was. Sometimes, if you want it bad enough, the universe will make it better.

Sunday came and went without an eyelid lifting. My plans for revisiting Kurt had dissipated throughout the day like the alcohol slowly exiting my bloodstream.

When I woke in the early hours of Monday morning, the world had clearly shifted. Life was once again conspiring against me. The following week at work, kept me late every night. End of year meant everybody wanted their financials done by yesterday. My boss demanded I stay back every night to get things done. I could hardly complain when on numerous occasions he had called me out for my stinking alcohol breath at ten in the morning. One good thing at this point though, I hadn’t had a single drink since I was with Kurt. I’d be  the best version of myself when I saw him next.

The week was spent in a long daydream of Kurt.

Saturday afternoon was to be my magnificent re-entrance to see the man I was clearly destined to spend the rest of my life with. I didn’t go overboard with make-up or outfit. I did however look better than I had in months. My skin even glowing slightly from excess water and no alcohol.

Walking into the pub my heart thudded to the beat of some alienated drum and bass number. Kurt, the first person I saw, was talking to a guy at the bar. First to the bathroom for one final check and also to pee out the three litres of water I’d consumed in the morning.

Two girls were at the mirrors. Both gorgeous. One of them though, was a natural. Her hair ran down her back like a golden waterfall. Her eyes engaging, invitingly so. Her hips small enough to show off her svelt waistline, her breasts bigger than handful and smaller than a load. It was hard not to stare, even harder not to envy her. I closed the door of the cubicle. They continued their conversation like I was never even there.

‘What’s his name?’


‘He so sexy.’

‘Oh he’s more than sexy. He’s the whole package. Funny, kind, caring, it was his eyes that got me first. He just stared at me so intensely. I couldn’t look away. Then we started talking. I was out with Mel, but after a while I think she figured out what was going on and told me to go for it. We spent Thursday night together and then again all day yesterday. I even took a day off work to be with him.’

‘Oh Sabina, I’m so happy for you. He suits you.’ 

‘I know right. I think I’m in love. Did I mention that he actually owns this pub too? How cool is that?’

I felt sick in my stomach. With my hand over my mouth I heard their two voices drift out of the bathrooms at which point I turned around heaved my breakfast in the toilet I just peed in.

‘That b***h!’ I thought. ‘That stupid b***h.’ 

Of the many thoughts going through my head, I settled on the girl who's life had already given an abundance and now was giving even more.

It hardly seems reasonable for one human being to despise another with such vomitous repugnance as I did Sabina from that day forth. I, the despiser believed wholeheartedly, without any normal sense or reason, Sabina should be treated as the kind of vermin one takes to with gas. Exterminate at any cost. Have them slowly die as life gasps out of them and then throw in a the match for good measure.

My hands were shaking and after retching on and off for the next ten minutes the little make-up I had been wearing was now a blotch of cosmetic landmines across my face. I needed a drink. 

Composing myself as much as physically possible, I left the bathroom and paced my way toward the exit. One final look before I was gone forever. Sure enough, there was Sabina Sabotage Vermin Girl, arms around Kurt, who was fondly flicking her bloody waterfall hair away from her neck so he could press his lips to it. 

My fists were clenched so tight my white knuckles I felt they may burst out of my skin. My heart had lost synchronicity with the world. I fought back my overriding desire to scream and wail like a spoilt baby. I felt dizzily deflated to the point I saw myself as just a rubber sack of nothing on the floor. I had to be gone from there.

‘My dishevelled princess, Kate, you came back?’ I heard behind me just as I was exiting back into my life of nothingness. ‘You look wrecked, have you been drinking again? Wait, Kate, Kate.’

I wish I never did see Kurt or Vermin Girl again. But I did, over and over and over. They never saw me thankfully. They were always way too wrapped up in each other to even let a breath of another’s life effect their own. 

Often in a semi-comatose drunken state I stand outside of my body and see the mess I’ve made of myself and my life. I won’t ever stop drinking. I see now, what dad saw, at some point your spirit starts to exit. Life no longer flickers any kind of light your way. I think when everything becomes a shade of total blackness, no greyscale at all, it really is time to go.

© 2016 KWP

Author's Note

Task ...

Write a scene or a short story as follows:

Establish a female character who experiences a strong desire (what Amy Hassinger would call her "big D desire" and Cate DiCharry would call her "core yearning")
In this story or scene, your character must act on that desire.
The way that you think she should experience and act on her desire must determine what point of view you pick for your story or scene

My Review

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From low to high back to low. Rollercoaster stuff. You really take the reader and leave him/her no choice but to follow through till the bitter end.

The ambiguous relationship with booze, knowing it will end you, yet committed to keep on drinking. Trying to distinguish between grey (still hope) and black (just give up).

Kate is desperate for male attention, or just human attention. It is a mystery why Kurt is so nice to her while it must be obvious she sees him as her rescuer.

Powerful stuff!

Posted 2 Years Ago


2 Years Ago

Cheers for reading Philip - I am thinking Kate misreads Kurt's usual friendly barman manner for some.. read more
Just the thing for me to read at this time of day :)
Liked it . . .

Posted 2 Years Ago

:( i feel so sad ..."Kate coulda been-a contenda" :((( enjoyed the surprises and want to help her (consummate care giver in me) so pretty emotive write ma'am .. the whole story scenes within your speaker .. surrounded with just the right atmosphere .. a fine Irish name for the bar ;) we had a neighborhood bar our dads stopped in for a beer after work ..they came home for diner and when we were of age and on most Friday nights us kids met there ... a little old Irish guy named Manny was the bar keep and he was the best listener i ever met .. his wonderful philosophies lay in his silence .. our Dads and us kids loved that guy .. Kurt reminds me of him a bit

Posted 2 Years Ago

girl,you are a paper back writer ! this is a great story

Posted 2 Years Ago


2 Years Ago

ah you know how to boost my confidence ... thanks you ... You da best X
This is really good. Very well explains Kate, why she is like she is and the inner desire to be loved. Thank you for asking me to read this. Well done. Valentine

Posted 2 Years Ago


2 Years Ago

Oh, Thank you so much Valentine ... I am so glad my purpose for writing this one was achieved :) You.. read more

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6 Reviews
Added on October 23, 2016
Last Updated on October 23, 2016



Sydney, NSW, Australia

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