Fiction: Love Is All I Want
By Mark McConville
While you run away from the biggest problem you’ve ever faced, I try to keep myself alive, in a bar across from the place where we met that night. That night was an example of love blossoming into something bigger than the stars, and we stood there for a long time, talking about what to do next. We were drunk but not out of sync with the world, speaking like we knew each other for decades.
I wonder where you are. You’re probably scoring for drugs to calm your body from the chills it feels and the pain it has to go through, yet I sit here, mumbling to myself, considering the next step in my pursuit of oblivion. I am drunk, yes, drunk, and looking to for a hit of hope.
These bars are all the same in this part of a town, dark and full of old men drinking their livers and crying about loss. Some of these men were respectable, and they worked hard, but after their wives died, alcohol enticed them into its grasp.
One guy weeps, another carries the trend. I feel like them, sorrow ridden and no one to go home to at night, no angel to comfort their old hearts. Observing the breakdowns saddens me, and alcohol only heightens the aggression.
It’s nearing closing time, and the world is angry. Out there, there're thieves and sinners, causing mayhem while the peacekeepers try to sustain the pressure. The wrinkled men don’t want to leave, they want to stay and drink until dawn.
‘’What can we do? I don’t want to go home to nothing’’
I look at the man who confides in me, and he’s on the cusp of breaking. He’s not an imposter, he’s truly hurting, ailing, forced to leave the bar to go home to a pitiful home which has so many memories mixing with the dust and debris.
‘’I’ll see you maybe in the afterlife’’
It sticks that statement. The old man walks out of this place with a full body of alcohol and intent.
I follow on, thinking about you and where you are. I start to reflect on that night, that night where it felt like it was only us at that moment.
The old man walks slowly and sluggishly, and at times, he stumbles. I shout out, but he doesn’t acknowledge me.
He walks down a smoky alleyway. I follow on, remembering the days spent with you, sunburnt but happier than ever. Those moments flash in my head, and I smile only for a second.
I catch up with the old man.
‘’What are you doing here?’’
He looks at me with disdain, showing a gun.
‘’It’s the only way’’
He opens his wallet and takes out a photograph of a woman and him. It’s slightly tarnished, but he kisses it and places it back in the wallet.
‘’On the edge of life. I’m too old to live now, and there’s nothing for me here’’
I try to take the gun from him, but points it at me and I take a step back.
‘’Love is all I want’’
The old man places the gun in his mouth and fires.
I stand, shaking to the wind and gasping for oxygen.
Love is all I want too.
Mark McConville is a freelance music journalist who has written for many online and print publications. He also likes to write dark fiction and poetry.