When he was a bairn, he sat under the tall maple trees with comic books, for his father was out wandering the streets with a melancholic mind. The father moved to the rhythm of the sadness in his head, amongst the gossip on the streets. He walked through empty parking lots and down by the stream trying to clear his brain from the static noise.

Inside the comic books, the child found contentment. Somewhere in a far-off land, the place where the superheroes usually protected you. A place where the sunflowers rose confidently tall, dotting the fields with a vibrant gold. Yes, there was color, the brightest of lemon that seemed to cut deep through the umbra. Still, his father continued to maunder down sidewalks and dead-end streets talking to the overgrown grass and whispering toward the heavens.

The town’s physician had given the father medications to balance out his troubled mind, but nothing seemed to uncoil his knotted, deteriorating mental health. He continued to plod on and on and on until he grew fatigued. Finally he stumbled back upon his only child beneath the maple trees with a comic book under his nose.

“Father, you found your way,” the bairn would usually say, with a bit of optimism scattered throughout his voice.

“The shine. It was shine-shine, yes, shine, heaven, I think,” he mumbled, “Warmth, the warmth, carried me, back here.”

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Margarida Brei
Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
13 days ago

Melissa, your fiction is both sadly poetic and dramatic in its intelligent exploration of depression/a disturbed mind.
The phrase “nothing seemed to uncoil his knotted, deteriorating mental health” really resonated!

Fuji
Fuji(@fuji)
12 days ago

Beautiful writing, Melissa. The child finding contentment in comic book heroes is something many of us can relate to, even with childhoods less troubling than your young man’s. I love your use of the word “maunder” – I had to look it up! And the father’s speech at the end really shows his mental state, but also the love and warmth that drew him in. Well done.

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