Posted in Flash Fiction

Another ‘Life In A Box’ Story (Inspiration Monday)

A more serious approach this time to the ‘Inspiration Monday’ prompt – ‘Life In A Box’

Life In A Box

The box that was his life was pressing on him from all sides, constricting his every movement, his every thought. As he woke each morning beads of sweat formed on his forehead as he thought about the day that lay ahead of him. Every minute of every day he felt the walls of his box inextricably getting closer, at times he felt as if the very breath of life was slowly but surely being squeezed out of him. Wherever he looked he imagined those people closest to him pushing those walls ever closer.

There was his wife, no longer the beautiful, fun-loving girl that he had fallen in love with. She now spent her whole life highlighting his shortcomings, nagging about his lack of drive and compassion. Every time he looked into her eyes he saw his failures reflected there.

Then there were his children, two teenage boys. They saw him as little more than a figure of ridicule whose only purpose in life was to ferry them from one party to the next and feed them money. He looked into their eyes and saw their mother glaring back at him.

Finally there was his boss, once a good friend, now no more than an aggressive overseer. He made an already stressful job even more unbearable with his raving and ranting and unachievable demands. He looked into his eyes and saw a reflection of himself in the future.

The walls of his box were so close now that he could reach out and touch them. He knew that if he didn’t do something soon then it would be too late, he would be past the point of no return. So he left.

One morning he woke, dressed and walked out of the house, waked out on his family, walked away from his job, but most importantly he walked out of that box. For a whole month he did nothing but walk, his only thought was to get as far away as possible from that box that had been his life.

He has a new life now, a new box. In fact it’s a large cardboard box under the railway arches. The nights can be cold and damp and the days long. He has no money, no possessions, just the clothes that he stands in. But the walls of his old box have disappeared, he can breathe again. Life in his new cardboard box is worth living.

MikeJackson©2011

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Author:

Now that I'm retired I have more time to devote to writing my blog and creating short stories.

21 thoughts on “Another ‘Life In A Box’ Story (Inspiration Monday)

  1. I think about this sometimes, walking away with nothing. There are a lot of people here who have done just that, it’s got to be better than where they came from. He’s more of a runaway. I started thinking about his options, each of which would have kept him imprisoned in one way or another. He chose the one that suited him. Good story Mike.

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    1. Glad you liked he story. Thanks for your comments.
      At times I suppose we must all feel somewhat constrained, imprisoned, each of us have different ways of dealing with it.

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    1. Thank you for your very kind words.
      I’m glad you liked the bit about what he saw in their eyes – once I’d done it with the wife it seemed an ideal situation to carry through with the sons & boss.
      Your Inspiration Monday prompts certainly get me going each week – thanks.

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  2. As I was reading I was wondering how many acutally live life in a box like this. Many, I am afraid!
    This is sad even though he has his freedom in the end. I just wish he didn’t have to have cold and damp nights!
    I loved reading this. You wrote it so well.

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    1. Thank you for your very kind words.
      I’m pleased you enjoyed the story.
      I think you are right – there are many people who live in box that can be constraining them.

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  3. It’s sad to think of someone living a life so difficult they would willingly give up everything. Very well told glimpse into a tortured soul.

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  4. I have to admit, at first I didn’t like this guy. A coward. I was hoping he’d grow a spine, demand some respect, and take the reins of his life instead of blame everyone for his failures.

    But then I stepped back. He is a victim. He no doubt has a mental illness, probably depression, and I know how devastating that can be. Now I wish someone (his wife!) had opened her eyes and taken him to get the help he needed.

    Good writing, as usual. Made me think!

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    1. Thanks for your great comments Kay.
      It is sometimes very difficult to see the difference between those who have only themselves to blame for their lot in life and the ‘victims’ of life & all that it throws at them.
      Glad you enjoyed the story.

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  5. Very clever Mike. So many people choose that kind of lifestyle (the second box) because while they have no “things”, they have their freedom. Good story.

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    1. Thanks for your comments Ken.
      For many people today getting on is measured by getting more. I often wonder how happy and free these people are.

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  6. In real life they’d hunt him down for child support. This story, in a different venue, such as one of the thousands of sites on how to do this, would elicit no compassion for him like we have. We’re writers and love a good story—but the mother, even though we hate her and the brats, would demand he pay up. I have some experience with this, and have seen men go to prison for being a couple months late, which just makes them even more behind, and helps neither the father nor the mother—it depends on the judge. Child support can break a person who wasn’t already broken, and can be the cause of homelessness. If a man loses his job or has mental problems or whatever, he still has to pay, even from his new home under a bridge which may be all he can afford. I’m on this man’s side because we are allowed a glimpse into his sad life, but the law and millions of moms wouldn’t be.

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    1. So true.
      The authorities and judges are often quick to condemn or make judgement without always getting the full story. I don’t think what the man in this story did was done lightly nor was it an easy way out.

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