The Road to Joy - Chapter IV
A man of sorrows, that's what I was. My heart was torn, my mind was in turmoil, and I had just been reminded of my family when the youth Edward had said his family would pray for both me and my family. I had left my family alone that night. I had not said goodbye or a word of comfort. But how could a man comfort when he was lacking it himself? I was a strong tree which had been snapped by the wind. No longer could I provide shade or support; no longer could I encourage or give hope. I felt like a shriveled plant, like dying grass.
I tried to push the thoughts out of my mind. I could not let my sorrows control me. Yet I came back to my partner. Every path I looked down, I saw pain. Did I have to add to my pain strife with Mr. Greene? It was his act, not mine. Was I his keeper? Was it not between him and God? Why should I suffer because he has been dishonest? Anyways, it wasn't that big of a deal. The customer had the money and wouldn't miss it. With that I excused the issue and pushed it out of my mind.
For the rest of the morning I tried to get work done. It was slow going because my mind was distracted and I was not concentrated on my work.
The clock struck twelve and I decided to go get a bit to eat somewhere. Not that I was particularly hungry, but I was more eager to pick up a morning paper with which to distract myself. As I headed down the street I spotted a boy selling papers and I headed over to him and bought one. I stopped at a little restaurant and ordered a roll and a tea.
I sat in the corner and opened the paper to find something to distract my mind with. The first article was on a ship that was wrecked near Gloucester. Normally that kind of article would have interested me, but today I was depressed at the thought of more death and calamity. The next article was announcing a train wreck, and again I didn't want to read that, so my eyes wandered further down the page.
Suddenly my heart skipped a beat. Then it seemed to stop completely. All time seemed to stop as I stared at her name. There, in the article on the train wreck, in the list of the dead, my fiancée's name was printed.
At that moment I seemed to go mad. My memory became foggy at this point. I know I got up and left. I felt I was too great a burden for my feet to hold up. I bumped into several people but continued on. I had only one focus, yet no focus at all. My mind had ruptured, exploded with grief, so much so that I knew not what I was doing. I do not rightly recall what all happened next.
The next thing I can remember is standing on the docks and collapsing. I began to weep. My whole body shook. My eyes became endless fountains of tears. I wept for my sister, I wept for my partner, but most of all I wept for my dearest beloved.
My shade in the heat had shriveled, a thorn bush had grown in my bed, but worst of all, my garden, my perfect rose had been burned. Sarah, oh my Sarah! How I dearly loved her, and when she was given into my hand, she was cruelly plucked from it. I was a man of misery. How could I keep going? Like a Morning Cloak she had sprung into my life, and then faded away into darkness. My whole life, my whole world was fading into darkness.
I, that glorious youth who had attained so much through much hard work was now like Rome, a ruined city. So many looked to me as an example of strength and determination, yet how easily strength withers, and how easily determination shrinks back. The ax had been laid to the root, and it had found its mark. I was cut down, and with me fell my strength and courage.
"Sarah, oh Sarah!" was all my mind could think, "the flower of my life has died in an instant and my life is left desolate. I am as a barren wasteland, a desert void of springs."
I cursed the day I was born. What was the point of a life that suffered so? Was it worth living a few moments of joy and many years of desolation of spirit?
I looked down into the water. The icy swirls seemed inviting. I wished to jump in and be swallowed up by the sea, and my pain and sorrow would be no more. My heart was stabbed; I was mortally wounded. Was it not inevitable then?
I quickly looked away. My thoughts were straying where they ought not go. It was not right that I think such thoughts. I would not take my life. I would live, with all my scares and pain, I would live.