Earlier this year, while deep in the throes of trying to write a young adult novel, I decided to write a short story. Sometimes you just need to do something that’s small and can be finished.
At the same time, I was reading Writer’s Mind, by Richard Cohen. In it he gives an exercise to write a plot in five minutes. Just start with a character and a problem and work toward an ending. So during lunch one day I sketched out a story about an old man who needs milk for his morning cereal.
At first I tried to make the story humorous and play off old people jokes, but by the time I finished writing the first draft I discovered the real story was something much different. There would hopefully still be moments of humor, but more importantly this was the story of a man who refused to acknowledge the pain of his past.
So I am proud to present Bent Heart. The story is just over 3,000 words long and should take about 15–20 minutes to read. Here is a short excerpt:
The house was old, like him. Some days as he walked this hallway the walls seemed to lean inward, tired after so many years. He had hoped that removing thepictures would lighten their load, but somehow the hallway only felt smaller. Rectangle stains marked the empty location of pictures like headstones.
He stopped to straighten one of the two photos still on the wall. Emily smiled back at him, those faint dimples in her cheeks peeking out.
These walls could be repainted. They should be repainted.
A soft tolling of bells in the living room noted the time as half to the hour. Roger put his back to the dimples and graves and made for the front door.
Click HERE to read the PDF in your internet browser. It has also been formatted for smartphones (iPhone in particular), so if you open the link on your phone and have Amazon Kindle or iBooks installed, you’ll see an option to open it there.