Category: grief

Episodes 5-7 of Street Dreams, a Novel by Ken David Stewart

Episode 5:

Harold watched after the Ford 150 drove away. He stood and stared at the young woman and started to think what he was going to do about her. Harold didn’t even consider calling the police. Instead he opened the front door of his house and called loudly to the girl in distress.

“Come here young lady. You need to get out of the cold or you’ll freeze to death!”

The young female looked towards Harold with a confused and frightened look. She wiped the snowflakes off her hoodie and walked awkwardly towards the door that Harold was holding open for her.

“Thank you so much Mister. You may have saved my life. May I come in your house?

“Step into the living room and make yourself at home,” Harold replied.

“Thanks. Hey, I should introduce myself. My name is Whisper,” the strange young woman said as she found a place to sit on Harold’s yellow and orange patterned sofa. Whisper admired the brass antique lamp to the left of the sofa. The full décor of Harold Peyton’s living room had the ambiance that could only come from a man who appreciated fine art.

“Could I interest you in a cup of Tim Horton’s coffee or perhaps a mug of hot chocolate?” Harold asked. “By the way, Whisper is a beautiful name. Who gave you that name?”

“My grandma came up with it if I remember correctly,” Whisper replied.
While standing in the hall, Harold now had a good opportunity to observe Whisper. Her hair was blonde highlighted by orange streaks. It presently looked wet and tangled. There were still some snowflakes in her hair. Whisper’s make up was smudged and smeared from her tears. Whisper had a gold rod piercing through her nose. She wore orange lipstick and had a pentagram tattoo on her left forearm. She was not very attractive and was slightly overweight giving her somewhat of a pudgy look. Harold thought that Whisper resembled a naughty, terribly neglected little elf.

Episode 6:

“I would love to have a hot chocolate, sir. What’s your name?” Whisper asked.

“My word, where did all my manners go? With all the excitement going on, I failed to recall that I haven’t told you my name. It’s Harold, Harold Peyton.”

“Could I ask a big favour of you. Mr. Peyton?” Whisper asked sheepishly.

“Oh, you don’t have to call me Mr. Peyton. I’d like it very much if you just called me ‘Harold’. What would you like me to do as a favour to you?”

“I would like to take a shower and get myself cleaned up,” Whisper asked as her face reddened with embarrassment. “But I would like to drink my hot chocolate first, if you don’t mind.”

“Of course, you can my dear,” Harold answered. Harold wondered why he had called Whisper ‘my dear’. After all he didn’t even know this girl yet.

“Did you bring a clean change of clothes to put on after you wash up?”

“Yes, I have some clean clothes in my duffle bag,” Whisper replied.

“I just asked in case you didn’t have a fresh change of clothes with you. I still have all my daughter’s clothes in a closet in her bedroom. You appear to be about the same size as she was and her clothes would probably fit you.” Harold’s countenance suddenly looked very pained.

“You said ‘was’ Harold. What happened to your daughter?”

“Today is the first anniversary of Erica’s passing. While getting a ride home from a party her friend’s car was involved in a head on collision. The driver of the other car was inebriated. Erica’s friend suffered severe injuries but survived. Unfortunately, my daughter did not survive the accident. As soon as he finished saying this, Harold Peyton sobbed, and his body began to shake uncontrollably.

Episode 7:

“Sit down in your Lazy Boy, Harold. I’ll make myself a hot chocolate. Would you like something to drink too?” Whisper asked.

“Yes, I would like a cup of coffee if you don’t mind making a pot,” Harold replied starting to regain his composure.

“No problem. I see that you’ve got the good stuff, Tim Hortons. It should be ready in a few minutes.”

After setting up and turning on the percolator Whisper returned to the living room.

“I’m very sorry to hear about you losing your daughter. It must be very painful for you.”

Yes, it is, but I should be an old hand at grieving by now. My wife Clarissa divorced me five years ago,” Harold said, causing another tear to trickle down his cheek.

“That’s terrible, man. Two major losses in five years! No one should have to suffer that much.”

“I agree, but it happened to me. It is what it is,” Harold said taking out a handkerchief to wipe away his tears.

“But I’ve told you enough for now about my problems. What happened to you out on the street. Who was that guy that pushed you out of his truck?”

“That would be Tony. He’s a real piece of work, man. He pushed me out of his truck after I told him that I wouldn’t have sex with him. Tony just figured that I owed it to him. He called it ‘taking it out in trade’. He said it was only fair because he let me sleep on his couch for a few nights.”

“Why did he drop you off in front of my house?” Harold asked.

“For no particular reason. Tony and I had been having a wicked fight for about fifteen minutes before he drove the truck down your street. Tony told me that I was giving him a migraine headache when he pushed me out on the road. We were just driving around in circles. I really don’t have any place to go anyway,” Whisper explained. ken-2018

Episode 36 of Street Dreams

Episode 35

Aleister hated going to school. He wasn’t like the other kids. He often chose strange clothing to wear and a from his teenage years onward, Aleister came to the conclusion that the world is not a nice place to inhabit. He came to the conclusion that most people were mean and nasty. They seemed to enjoy hurting people that were a little different and could think for themselves. Aleister had an artistic temperament. He was quiet, sensitive and possessed an incredible imagination. He struggled in math and science classes, but received decent marks in English and history class. Aleister would skip the classes that he didn’t like very frequently, but he didn‘t leave the school. He would go to the school library as this was kind of a safe haven for him. The library had small private reading rooms where a student could either sit in a standard chair next to a little desk or lean comfortably against the wall on one of the room’s oversized cushions. Aleister preferred the large soft cushions and especially liked a pillow that had a picture of the cartoon character, Garfield, decorated on it. Aleister usually had the room to himself as the other students in the school thought he was weird and didn’t want to get too close to him.

Aleistair was very careless about his personal hygiene and after several days without taking a shower or bothering to change his clothes, he started to reek of body order. Aleister preferred being left alone. He did not want any distractions from others. He needed his own private space, with the accompanying peace and quiet, in order to enter into his own internal world. Within Alister’s personal realm, he was the only person that was allowed in. There were exceptions, of course. These were the characters that he read about in his favourite books. He chose books in the genres of true crime and mystery, science fiction and horror novels. His favourite author was Stephen King. He’d read all of King’s work at least once and there were several books that he had read two or three times. The Stephen King titles that he loved the most were, the Dark Half, the Stand and Pet Sematery. If Aleister could escape notice from the library teacher and or the library tech, he would remain in his literary, fictional, safe haven for two hours and occasionally for half the day.

When the school alarm sounded to signal class change at the end of every period, Aleistair would grab a few oversized cushions and a blanket that was available to the students and hide behind them for at least five minutes. He learned that the school staff usually only checked the private rooms during the class changes.

After Aleister’s parents separated when he had just turned fourteen Aleister began to act out at school. The dissolution of his family unit caused Aleister great emotional distress. He went through the standard stages of grief, but his anger was what got him in trouble at school. His anger towards the world and its human occupants turned into a burning rage.

Prior to his parents splitting up, Aleister had not committed any acts of school vandalism. When Aleister could no longer restrain the angst churning inside him, he would engage in acts of vandalism at school. Aleister got a pleasurable adrenaline rush from acting out and after he finished creating havoc, a beautiful sense of calm would envelop him.

There were a variety of malicious stunts Aleister liked to enact, One of these was to grab a handful of paper towels in the boys washroom and plug the toilets to the point where they would overflow when anyone pushed down the handle. On one occasion, he took out a cigarette lighter and started a garbage bin on fire. Aleister took great pleasure when he saw the fire trucks arrive and watched all the teachers and students scramble to evacuate the building. Aleister chuckled to himself when it was -30°C and he could see all the people outside the school shivering and jumping around in a vain attempt to stay warm.

These malicious acts pleased Aleister to no end, to cause a disruption in the school that he hated, and best of all, he was in control and held all the power.

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Chaos, A Novel by Ken David Stewart (Revised Version #1)

Episode One:

On April 16, 2016 Harold Peyton turned sixty-five. He was troubled by the realization that he was now officially a senior citizen. His beloved wife, Camilla had moved out his house on this very date April 16, 2015. Harold remained living in their old house that had done without renovations and repairs for at least a decade. Although a friend had encouraged him to find a new place to live, Harold was too deeply overwhelmed by his circumstances to change his living arrangements. His stepson, Jeff, had even asked Harold to come and stay with him and his family. Harold didn’t want to impose upon him and he didn’t want Jeff to know that he had started drinking alcohol again. He had eleven years of sobriety to his credit before he relapsed back into his disease of addiction. Harold started drinking again a few days after he and Camilla separated.

On a Friday morning Harold walked by the local Manitoba Liquor Commission. He had just finished going to the post office to mail in thank you notes to all the people who sent their condolences.

As soon as Harold opened the door to the liquor store and literally walked across the red carpet, Harold felt right at home. It was as if the last eleven years of his life had never happened. Harold decided to take a tour of the liquor store to check out all the different kind of alcohol on display. After about twenty minutes of exploring the store Harold decided upon the largest bottle of Jack Daniels that he could find. He walked out of the liquor store without the slightest feelings of guilt and shame.

Episode 2:

Harold had now been retired for five years. He had been a high school English teacher for twenty-seven years. He was now receiving a CPP pension, a retired teacher’s pension and was about to start receiving Old Age Security Benefits.

Harold only returned to drinking alcohol for one year after his wife left him. After the one year was over Harold returned to his old Alcoholics Anonymous group and was welcomed back with open arms.

When he turned sixty-five Harold realized that he had to get back on his feet. One year of indulging in self-pity and substance abuse was long enough. As he gradually accumulated more sobriety his once brilliant mind had started to function again and he became very introspective. He began thinking about what he was going to do with the rest of his life.

After all, Harold was only in his mid sixties. He realized that he could possibly have twenty more years in store for himself.

Harold had kept physically fit before his drinking got out of control. He got back in the habit of going for a forty-five -minute bike ride each day. He also worked out at Shapes, his local gym, at least three times per week. When he started going back to Shapes he started with performing a resistance training circuit. Within a few months Harold was looking significantly better. By means of his weight training program Harold was starting to regain most of his youthful muscle definition. He was still approximately seventy pounds overweight according to his doctor’s Body Mass Index chart.

A good part of the problem was that Harold could not get himself motivated to learn how to cook healthy meals. While Harold and Camilla were together, his wife did the majority of the cooking. The only type of cooking that Harold enjoyed was barbequing using an old circular shaped charcoal barbeque. He was afraid of using the newer gas powered grills. Harold would barbeque hot dogs, hamburgers and steak practically every day during the summer. Occasionally he would put on his parka and barbeque outside during the winter months.

After Camilla moved out, Harold had to learn to fend for himself. He realized that he would have to eat something so he started to think of all the meals he could prepare for himself without having to cook. One morning Harold sat down and made a list of all the meals that he could make on his own. The list that Harold came up with included toast, various types of sandwiches, dry breakfast cereals, large bars of cheese, pizza pops, raw pepperoni sticks, hot dogs, raw fruits and vegetables. Spam and assorted canned foods.images-71