The Note

The Note

A Story by SamSim27

How do people live with guilt?


Gerry stepped back to admire his work, he’d just added the last coat of paint to what would be his new bedroom. After 6 months of tiresome painting, building, fixing and rearranging, he had finally finished. His new flat was ready, tomorrow he would bring the last box of his belongings and close the door on his painful past, ready to start anew. New home, new neighbourhood, and new friends. No more smiles filled with pity, no more sympathetic nods or hugs dripping with regret. Gerry longed for a normal conversation about sports, or the weather or anything that didn’t involve empty, pointless apologies. Friends and family apologising for something that they have no obligation to be sorry about. Friends and strangers, alike, trying desperately not to draw attention to the unsightly scar on his face and have conversations that don’t revolve around the terrible events that have left him alone.

Gerry turned and watched his reflection in the mirror as he traced the moon-like scar with his forefinger. He knew he would still be asked questions about his scar, wherever he went there would be questions. It’s very difficult to hide the fact that you have a facial disfigurement, especially when it manifests itself in a thick, raised purple line running from your eyebrow to your chin. But he could make up whatever story he wanted, something heroic, something funny, anything but the truth.

“Right, let’s stick this up in the loft, then I think I’ve earned myself a beer.” Gerry picked up his toolbox and headed for the open loft hatch.

As he placed down the toolbox, just inches inside the loft, he noticed an envelope pinned to a wooden beam. He reached for it and sat on the top step of the rickety loft ladder.

Every hair on Gerry’s body instantly stood on end.

“Surely not, how the…” His words trailed off mid-sentence, as though he had lost the ability to speak. He stuffed the envelope in his pocket and walked, with shaky steps, to the kitchen.

He cracked open a beer and chugged half of it down in seconds, placing a second on the kitchen table. He threw the envelope down on the table and took a seat, never once lifting his eyes from the familiar handwriting that stared back at him.


The words ‘I’m Sorry were taunting him from the yellowing paper. Gerry grabbed the envelope and ripped it open vigorously. He read the note aloud, as though hearing the words would make them easier to digest.


If you are reading this, then you have moved into my girlfriend’s old flat. I hope you have fixed the back door, it’s not the most sturdy door you’ve ever seen, or used for that matter.

I do not know who you are, and you have no idea who I am or more importantly where I am.

My name is John. What you are about to read is slightly disturbing, but I sincerely urge you to read it to the end. Selfishly, I just need to have confessed this to someone and you, my friend, are that unlucky soul. I am writing this on 27th August 2014. Four days ago, I gave a mad man the identity and location of my best friend. This mad man was threatening my job, my reputation and my relationship. I made a bad decision. I cheated on my girlfriend. I was having another relationship behind her back for around 5 months. This mad man, unfortunately was my secret lovers’ husband. He threatened to expose my relationship with his wife to everyone I knew, he had pictures he said he would send them to everyone. I was frantic. He offered me a way out. He said that if I met him and fought with him then he would forget the whole thing. I’d seen this guy’s picture, he was an absolute beast, I would have been killed. My friend, well, he was a boxing champion, I reckoned that he could take the guy. The plan was, I would give this mad man my address, he would come to my house post the pictures through the letter box and then come through the back door to fight me. So, I gave him my friends address, thinking he would put up a good fight and then I could come round after and collect the pictures and help with the clean-up.

I didn’t know his wife would be home, I didn’t know his son would be there. I didn’t think this mad man would turn up with a machete.

Well, as I am writing this, my best friend is fighting for his life in hospital. His wife and son are dead. And I am leaving the country, I can’t live with the guilt, I can’t ever look him in the eyes again. I can’t even tell him what really happened. Everyone thinks it was just a random attack. How can I tell him that it was my fault the man was there? How can I tell him that the reason his family are dead is because I couldn’t own up to cheating on my girlfriend?


RIP Joanna and Freddie.

I’m sorry, Gerry!

© 2017 SamSim27

Author's Note

I wrote this in about 20 minutes, it was a fleeting idea that i had and i just wanted to get it down. All comments will be greatly received .. please be nice :)

My Review

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This is an impressive piece of work for only spending 20 minutes on it. You have a good grasp on the emotions, for Gerry and John, and you portrayed them expertly. Good opening, too, it really catches your attention. That being said, a few things: you might think about adding something about Gerry's boxing career into the beginning, it'll help with the foreshadowing and also, give us a better visual of what Gerry looks like. Another thing, in the last line, ""that the reason his family..." it would be "family is dead," family is singular. One last thing, I would maybe draw out the part between him finding the letter and reading it. I would think that if you lost everything you held dear, ended up in the hospital, and then moved into your buddy's girlfriend's old apartment, you might take a minute or two to process seeing a letter from said buddy (whom you haven't seen in months) Just a few things to think about, other than that, this is very well done and I look forward to reading more of your work.

Posted 1 Year Ago

I loved this. It really hits you what he must be feeling at the start of the story once you read the letter, it really hits home.

Posted 1 Year Ago

First paragraph was nice and tight. Easy to follow and to have read. The roll-on sentences were great. I like the little touch you added - 'yellowing paper' - it gives the note a more realism to it and little touches go a long way in my book.

The note - LOVED IT. Felt sorry for Gerry and his kids.

Grammar wise, I couldn't find anything.
Great piece.
20 minutes it took you to write you say - WOW I am impressed.


Posted 2 Years Ago


2 Years Ago

Thank you, Mark.
As always, your comments are gratefully received.

2 Years Ago

Impressed...yes I was.
I know its not much of a review but that's because your words did the .. read more
A decent premise with an interesting little twist that ties things up a fair bit at the end (I have found that I often enjoy seeing letters and other forms of asynchronous communication used in writing like this, so that was a delight). The execution was pretty solid for something written in around twenty minutes. Good job.

That said, there are a couple of things I would like to note. The first is about the only problem I had with the readability (this could be tied to differences in formatting practices or a victim of the virtue of the piece being written in twenty minutes). The paragraphs were difficult to pick out early on due to the lack of indentation or paragraph breaks. For an online format such as WritersCafe, a space between each paragraph may work best (at least according to research I've done on this from back before I started throwing things out there myself). More accommodating for smaller screens (i.e. cell phones) as well. Just thought I would mention this, as otherwise the text could be a little daunting due to how much it resembles a solid block of text.

Minor issue with the line “'Surely not, how the…' His words trailed off mid-sentence". The phrase "his words trailed off mid-sentence" are unneeded due to your use of the ellipsis.

Only other remark is with the repetitive starting word (Gerry's name) for the first few paragraphs.

Granted, most of what I've noted here are things that would otherwise be dealt with outside of a twenty minute window. These things aside, I liked your foreshadowing and dancing around what happened only to have them addressed in the letter that also explained what happened.

Posted 3 Years Ago


3 Years Ago

I usually re-read, re-edit and over analyse things before i allow them to go anywhere but my compute.. read more

3 Years Ago

I had a feeling that was the case (since you noted the time you spent writing the piece, and thus my.. read more

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4 Reviews
Shelved in 1 Library
Added on February 14, 2017
Last Updated on February 14, 2017



London, United Kingdom

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A Story by SamSim27

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