Tell A Tale in 500 Words
The memory of yesterday By J. Grampton
I open my eyes. The sun is shining but I see no light. The memory of yesterday floods my bones and screams in my ear. I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth. Never felt fear, never thought of consequences. My life flowed like water flows in a river. Sometimes slow, sometimes too fast but never stall. I went to public school and graduated from Oxford, never had a worry in my mind. The memory of yesterday doesn’t let me sleep. My wife waits for me at home. My children’s faces are always clean and I give them everything they want.
The investment bank I work for gave me a promotion. The boys took me out to celebrate. The memory of yesterday is hazy and makes my stomach churn. £20 notes. £50 notes. Cocktails at the Savoy. People say cheers to my success, not yours. I am the seventh most successful banker under 35 in the City of London. I know next year I will make it to the top five.
I close my eyes. My body is resting but I feel no calm. The hotel bed is hard like concrete and the kettle is too far. Where is the kettle? I need my wife. I shouldn’t have had that last drink. The memory of yesterday is bitter and it prickles my tongue.
The cabbie we hailed won’t let me in. I am too drunk, he says. I take a wad of money out of my pocket and throw it at his face. I am the most successful banker under 35. In the world. My parents always told me I would get far in life. Never felt insecurity, when people doubt me I laugh. The memory of yesterday looks at me straight in the eye.
His name was John.
His name was George.
I can’t remember.
I walk down The Strand on my own. I stagger, I fall. I cry for the first time in my life. Mikey asks if I am alright. Wait. His name was John. John the homeless guy.
The investment bank I work for gave me a promotion. The boys left me on the street for a laugh. I am the loneliest man in the world. The memory of yesterday has a name and I can’t even remember it but I remember his face and I remember his voice. He asked me if I was alright. He gave me a blanket and said sorry, he didn’t have a spare pillow but we could share the cardboard box. His face was dirty and he gave me everything he had.
I open my eyes. The sun is shining. I remember the stories John told me when we were both trying to fall asleep. His life flowed like the ocean current. Sometimes the tide was low, sometimes high, and when it went out it took his possessions from him like the sea takes the sand. But it never stalled.
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