I don’t have much time, but I wanted to put my newest short story on here that I finished around 4 this morning for my Creative Writing Fiction class. I hope you enjoy the read. I also hope that I can get some free time this weekend to write a decent blog post. I have a test and essay next week, so we’ll see.
Searching for Yesteryear
His name was Rodney. He liked to be called Rodney, thank you very much indeed. The concept of nicknames was always strange to him. It was so strange, in fact, that he even taught a lecture on the subject once at his job, a less well-known university in London. He theorized that people need to feel special beyond their birthright name, and so nicknames were born. He concluded them pointless, and he had no shame in stating his dislike of them. Perhaps it was because he’d never been given one, but that was another matter entirely.
His hair was peppered and of Kennedy style, a nice look for a fifty-eight year-old. It parted to the left like Robert’s used to; he’d always respected him more than John. His dress code was simple. He owned seven suits, one for each day of the week, and going outside of that routine was unthinkable, just as buying a new toothpaste brand was unthinkable. He took his suits to be properly cleaned every Monday and Thursday, taking them in before work and picking them up after.
His most laidback suit was reserved for Saturday. He would begin his morning by eating breakfast at a little eatery near his home. It was nothing fancy, but rather just a nice way of getting out of the house for breakfast once a week. Afterwards, he would spend a short amount of time at an old shop near Kensington Gardens that sold various trinkets. Being a collector of Matchbox toy cars since his boyhood, Rodney made it his mission in life to own every model. It was a hobby, and in his opinion there was nothing wrong with having a simple hobby, no matter what your age. He wouldn’t allow himself to look at anything else in the shop in fear of picking up a new collection, so he remained in the section that kept the Matchbox cars. The original Yesteryear Ford Model T was the golden ticket in mind during each visit, but he never saw it.
After leaving the shop empty-handed, Rodney pulled his mobile from his pocket and dialed James, his most loyal companion. The two had done their graduate and doctorate work together and ended up at the same university to teach years later. If there was to be one great friend for each person in life, James was that to Rodney.
“James, ole’ chap,” Rodney began once the voicemail picked up. “I’m at a loss once more with the Matchbox. I think I should start branching out and looking elsewhere, or perhaps even go on that ghastly internet site, though I do find that to be cheating. Ring me if it pleases you, otherwise I’ll see you tonight at the pub. Good day.”
Rodney clicked off his mobile and shoved it back into his suit pocket, letting thoughts of Matchboxes and friends slip from his mind for the time being. The remainder of his afternoon was spent on various chores throughout the house, a break for lunch, and a grueling five hour period of grading essays and exams. After checking his mobile to find no missed calls, he resumed his day with making dinner. When the hour reached seven, he locked up the house and headed on to the pub.
There was a pub mere blocks from the university’s campus that a group of professors would meet at for a drink on Saturday evenings. Some of the men and women only showed up on occasion, but Rodney attended every week. He had no wife or children, and his only remaining relative was a cousin up north, so the weekly pub gathering was his way of finding that extra human connection people needed in life.
“Did you hear what happened?” one of the women asked upon his entrance.
“What happened?” Rodney asked, looking at his colleague, only slightly interested. Work gossip was beyond juvenile to him, and he knew by the tone that it would be something he wouldn’t actually care to hear. She also looked grave, and that was never a becoming color.
“Professor Baddock shot himself last night,” the woman continued.
Rodney was right; he didn’t care to hear that.
“Tragic,” Rodney said lightly. “Excuse me.”
Before the woman could say another word, Rodney turned from the forming group and left the pub. He hastened through the streets towards his home, pulling out his mobile every minute or so in case James called and asked why he wasn’t at the pub. His voice would most certainly prove helpful during this time.
Rodney saw a small package sitting on the front step when he arrived home. He wondered if it had been there all day but decided it didn’t matter. He picked it up and walked into the desolate house. After removing his shoes and suit jacket, he went into his office. He recognized the writing on the outside of the package and was afraid to open it. After considering the contents of the package, he opened it to find packaging peanuts and a note.
I will be long gone by the time you read this, but I wanted you to know that I told my wife the truth. I didn’t tell her about us, but I told her that I had been living a lie and I couldn’t continue my life with such guilt. Please do not be cross with me. Accept this gift as my most sincere affections for you.
Hot tears hit the letter before he could finish reading its contents. He didn’t quite understand why this was happening. What would compel his dear friend, his one true love, to do such a thing to himself? It was selfish, cruel, and simply unnecessary. They had never made plans to run away together—that idea was too juvenile—but they had planned to be together in whatever way they were able. Rodney felt no freedom in knowing James had freed himself, and he didn’t care if that was selfish.
He set the letter down on his desk and dug through the peanuts until he lifted out an unopened 1911 Yesteryear Ford Model T Matchbox, the original. His eyes produced more tears at the sight of something he had been searching for since he was a child. He wanted to share this moment with someone, but there was no one who would care or understand. Instead there was nothing left but an aging man sitting alone in his den. All he could think about was how he wanted a different form of yesteryear.
Note: If you have any suggestions, please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment.