(I am happy to inform you that your piece,
‘A Brilliant Life’, has been selected for a
community reading group project at the University of
Northampton. ‘A Brilliant Life’ will not be sold and
will be used for educational purposes only, but — as you
hold the copyright to your stories — it is up to you to
give permission for its use. If you have any issues with
your work being used by the University of Northampton)
Martin was a man.
That was the best and the worst of it. He lived in room that served as his bedroom and sometimes as his kitchen. He had no friends to speak of but then he had no enemies either.
His parents, Fred and Annie had high hopes for their boy. They had fought so hard to have a child that when Martin finally did arrive, he was their moon and stars and sun.
He had a good heart and some might say he had the best of hearts.
He tried to be strong for himself and his family and he made sure he smiled every day but he did find, as we all do, that there are people in this world who won’t let a soul breathe. He didn’t judge them too harshly as they had their own reasons. He would simply let the world get him down for a while, pull the covers over his head then after a sleep he’d feel better once again.
Martin had his dreams of course. He’d wanted to be a professional footballer then he’d wanted to be a famous actor and other times he’d wanted to sing in front of a million people. After his mother’s death he’d wished he’d been the person who had found the cure for cancer.
Martin never became any of those things, not because he lacked talent but because he felt there were better people than him. Those who knew how good they were, those were the ones that deserved success.
He dreamed of love and being loved but it never came to be or at least he may have had his eyes closed as it was passing. He watched his school friends grow and marry and have children and he wished them well and just sometimes as he sat in the park and saw the parents and their children play, he wished that he was them.
Now don’t get me wrong, he wasn’t jealous, not for a second because the world shared out its good and bad and with his parents Martin had the best of all worlds.
Sometimes he wished that he’d had a brother or sister, just someone to visit at Christmas. To have nieces or nephews that he could buy presents and birthday gifts.
Martin saw every single day as a bonus. He wasn’t lonely and he wasn’t a loner, he just felt people had better things to do with their time than talk to him.
But he watched the world and he saw the people and their troubles and without letting anyone know he would try to help.
When he had a little drop of extra coins in his life, he would put the money in an envelope and leave it on the step of some deserving door; the lady whose husband who’d left her alone, the child who needed an operation, the man who just wanted a day away from the house.
Martin wasn’t a saint, not by any stretch of the imagination. Martin had hurt people and he’d wasted opportunities and most importantly he’d wasted time.
Because we all have our own ideas of what sin is, but to Martin wasting time was up there with the big ones.
He sent Christmas and Valentine cards to the lonely souls in the street. He sent postcards to the old lady who, like him, had no family. She probably didn’t know who or where it came from but the important thing was that someone had written to her.
You see none of what he did was ever big but it mattered to the people he helped.
This world is awash with lonely souls and to someone like Martin who could appreciate that point, he felt it was his place to do something about it.
Martin’s gone now and I’m not sure if he moved or just closed his eyes for the last time.
No one really noticed that there was no longer a light on in Martin’s house but they did notice there were no longer little gifts on the door step, or that cards were no longer being sent.
Martin had accepted that what he had been given in his life, was his life and he had used it all in the best way he could.
He sometimes smiled, he sometimes cried and he nearly always laughed.
bobby stevenson 2017