Community Stories. Get Inspired, Get Underlined

Short Story Explorations

By @DizzyDo

The Disheveled Man

This man. This poor old man. He sits on a wide bench that has a red fabric on top of it. He hasn’t moved since he got the news. No tears fall from his eyes, his body doesn’t shake. He just sits. His pastel red and blue shirt does nothing to cover the rolls in his belly as his back is slightly slouched over, and his shoulders are slightly rolled inward towards his chest.

I watched them deliver the orange bag that he holds in his hands. It was clean and straight, but now it’s crinkled and his grp is loose upon it. I know the contents and so does he, but it’s hard on the heart to gaze upon these. His hair is receding back, its silver tint is dull and looks dirty. 

I would surely cry if I was in his situation, but I would have a family to help me through the hardships. This man. This poor old man has no company. In the thirty minutes that I’ve kept an eye on him, no one has shown up to comfort him. An occasional nurse, passing from one patient to another, would lay a hand on his shoulder. I’d hear them say words like, I’m sorry, or I wish we could have helped out sooner. But he never moved, not even to see their faces. 

I want to go to him, to hug him in my arms and tell him that it’ll be ok, but I can’t. Like him, I’ve lost my ability to move, the sight of him is weighing my heart down so well. It’s as if my heart was a cannonball dropped into the ocean. I can’t move, my body won’t allow it, but he does. 

His body rocks from side to side as if it’s trying to comfort his heart, like an infant in a rocking chair. I watch him turn over the orange package, his grip tightens and he grabs it with both hands. He turns the top towards himself. His eyes are soft and sad. I watch as he pushes his fingers into the opening and his gaze changes. 

His face has been sad, but it’s gotten worse. His eyes get red and glossy, I can tell that tears are beginning to clutter his eyes. I hear him sniffle and he grapes the bag with more strength. It crinkles, ad his swaying gets more violent, his body slightly shakes as if he is standing out in the cold. 

I shouldn’t be watching this, it’s none f my business. His life, not mine, but my heart tugs at me and I can’t look away. A small glimmer of silver catches my eye when he pulls his hand back out. He holds a beautiful silver wedding ring between his thumb and forefinger. 

I catch tears welling up in my eyes. My face feels hot with emotion, I swear I’m turning red. I’ve seen this a million times, but this old man hits differently. 


It drops on the floor, his hands fly up to his face. He frantically wipes his tears but they fall so quickly and so hard that they run down his chin and neck. He lets out a soft sob, from the bottom of his soul and my tears release. 

I stand up, pushing my office chair to the desk that I sit at. My body feels heavier than when I came to work this morning. I struggle to pick up my feet to walk. I stop beside him and bend down, grabbing the dropped wedding ring. 

I take a seat next to him, the bench is cold and hard. My hand grabs his, I unfold his fingers and place the ring inside, closing his hand back into a ball. 

“My wife, my wife, She’s gone.” He talks between sobs. He has heard I’m sorry so many times, I can’t say that. I grab him and let him cry into my shoulder. 

“You’re not alone. I love you.” I pause and hug him tighter. “You’re not alone…”

Join the conversation

Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry
Post a comment
0 Likes 0 Comments
Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry

Become a Book Nerd

When you’re not reading books, read our newsletter.