The morning began with the monotony of any other; waking from beneath a weighted veil of fatigue as provided to me by a restless slumber. My eyes remain heavy and burdened from last nights horror show. A show perniciously played out from behind closed eyes—nightmares. As I lay on my side, I allow for my weary gaze to investigate the surroundings of my apartment. And in spite of aching bones and lamenting joints, I roll from bed and lumber towards the kettle. It’s time to make a cuppa.
The day is beautiful. Well, beauty of course being in the eye of the beholder—it’s raining! There is a slight contentment that begins to compete with the nagging pull of depression. I am hoping the tea will help and that I will remain free from the shackles of Big-D.
I stand with shoulders slumped and gaze lowered. In the periphery, I can see the grey glow of a rainy-day bleed into my apartment through the window. I cast a gaze outward and watch as puddles are brought to life by the brilliance of falling droplets. They explode like abstract as each passing car slices through them with careless impunity.
From across the room I hear the familiar chime of my phone, informing me of a new message. The kettle is close to boil and I know that should I leave my post to retrieve the beckoning device, I stand the risk of failing to mitigate the boiling steel of its shrill scream. A risk I take. I canter over, pick up my phone and quickly return to the kitchen, just in time to remove the kettle from the relucent element.
As I pour the steaming water into my awaiting cup, I traverse through the messages on my phone’s display. It was in doing that that something halted my movements and captured my undivided attention. Boasting from my phone was a series of pictures, each one possessing a short write up or two. It was a message from Heather, my dear friend and publisher. She had been in the U.K. for the past several weeks, visiting family and promoting the anthology: Brainstorm Revolution.
Receiving pictures from Heather during her time away was not an anomaly, but there was something different about this collection of images. Now, it is important before I go on any further, that I explain to you that Heather had no idea who my favorite author was… I do not make that readily known and it rarely comes into casual conversation. As such, what happened next was splendidly serendipitous; Heather had managed to find the last known writing desk of one: Charles Dickens. And on that desk, she placed a stack of papers. That stack of papers, was my manuscript. The story of: A Medic’s Mind. And there it sat, humbly still atop of my most admired author of all time—Charles Dickens!
You know how in the moment before excitement sets itself within you, and you feel your heart stop for just a moment? Well, that’s exactly what happened to me! I became light as a feather, as happy as an angel, as merry as a school boy! Heck, I was as giddy as a drunken man!!
My thumbs and fingers stumbled and tripped over themselves when trying to respond to Heather. I was still in shock at what I had seen. I mean, my book, my words, my story resting atop of the great Charles Dickens desk—incredible!!!
I do not believe that I formulated enough of a response of gratitude that day, so, let me try now:
Heather, I still struggle to find the words that I feel are worthy enough of explaining to you just how much that simple act of kindness means to me. That tender display of thought and care is something so incredulously wonderful to me that I fear I may never have enough time nor lexicological prowess to truly demonstrate my utmost and sincerest of thanks to you. In turn, please know that this is one of the most generous and thoughtful things anyone has ever thought to do for me.
I have spent a lot of time in this world feeling invisible. And on that morning of your message, I felt invincible. The swell of Superman!
Words may fail to describe how grateful I am, but my hope is that next time I see you, my smile will say it all. Because as you well know, smiles are also a commodity in this life of mine.
Heather, thank you!
Charles Dickens… my God, Charles Dickens!!! My work has been on his desk! My words basked within the ethereal remains of his. As a boy and as a young man through to today, A Christmas Carol is without a doubt my most favorited piece of prose on this planet.
Short anecdotal to really drive things home here:
When I was a young lad, a boy, really, I once took to my closet and removed what I presumed to be old timey wear. I threw on a shirt, a tie and some slacks. I even put a bird feather that I had found whilst out on one of my adventurous walks in my shirt pocket— “a writer’s quill” I thought.
I then proceeded to traipse down my stairs, waddling with a sense of inflated ego and bravado.
“Matthew?!” My mother said inquisitively.
“Yes, Mumsy…” I said with a thick British reply.
“What you doing? Why’ve you got that on?”
*Snobby laughter* “Oh, Mumsy, I do love you. I am going writing, you see. And a man cannot simply wear juice stained shorts to write, that would be ‘ridickolus’” A mispronounced word here or there, but I had proclaimed my intentions.
“Matthew, you get that dirty and I’ll tell you what…”
“Motha, stop worrying. I am Dickens, I have a book to write, leave me be, now.”
“What did you just say to me?!”
“Nothing. Love you. Bye.”
And out the door I went…
Dickens had a healthy imagination and so did I. I always adored the thought of being able to create a world outside of the one I was doomed to live in. I even wrote a story about a boy and his father once; a man completely unlike mine. A father/son tag team wrestling duo—we won the championships and then went out for pizza and Pepsi. Then I wrote a story about my mum, she was a superhero… The British Bullet, combining my two favorite things: My mum, and Superman.
So seeing my manuscript draped purposefully atop of the man that started it all for me, well, that removed depression rather quickly. And guess what, the rain is still falling. Think I’ll grab a shirt, some slacks maybe a jacket and head out for a walkabout.
But before I do, please remember: There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor! So, think of a small British boy with untamed hair, wide brimmed glasses that boasted innocent gaze and then envision that boy growing into a man, sitting at a desk and writing this to you… then smile, because even for just a moment, that man has been able to recapture the feeling of a lost innocence once held by a hopeful boy. Now that, is a Christmas Carol!