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Goldsmiths' Official Student Magazine

Literary: Alone

11 April 2018
"To grieve is a selfish act of self-pity," Callum Martin writes.

Based on a painting by Alexander Sanderson

Thoughts about thoughts, thinking about thinking. I never thought this would happen, he thought. Sitting on the windowsill in his bedroom looking outside at the cold, oppressive greyness of everything he kept running the information through his head. His mother was downstairs, he could hear her. He could feel the coldness of outside permeating through the window as he sat by it. His mother had been there to tell him. Jacob’s mother had called his own and she had told him what had happened. He had broken down on the spot. He made no illusions, no attempts to suppress how he felt. In the presence of his mother everything could come flooding out. The only other person he felt like that with was Rob, and now he was not here. He was dead and so were the others. He turned his face from the scene of an utter abyss that was outside and towards his room. He tried to find something that meant anything to him.

He was meant to have gone on that journey with them, the one Julia had organised. They all perished in that bus. If he had not been focused on his work and not been afraid to spent time in the presence of Julia he would have gone too, and then he would have been extinguished to. Would it have been better, he thought, to have died with them and Rob, rather than to be left here alone now.

He felt the weight of everything crashing down and in on him. He looks over at his phone and, for the briefest of moments, thinks about calling Rob. Then he thinks about who else he would have called. There were so few, and now they are all among those dead. I have no one in the world save for my mother, he thought. His mother had always been there for him, but he often felt that was not enough. He was greedy. He wanted more from people.

He then found himself outside walking up to the beach which is a ten minute walk from his house. The beach is dull and sandy, without pebbles. No pebbles, just fine grain. Wet and grey. In the sun the sky would be blue and white with the clouds and the beach would be an inviting, illuminated beige; not white or golden, but beige, but illuminated and inviting. Today there is none of that and there is only grey; grey sky and grey beach and no sun. The sun had abandoned them today. He walked passed the unhealthy looking grass which grew around the top of the beach and was attacked by the biting wind as he was. He stood on the beach with his hand in his coat pockets and felt the cold air rip into his body as he thought about his friends. He no longer could see or speak to them. To grieve is a selfish act of self-pity.

– 3rd March 2018


Words, Callum Martin

Image, Jamie Anderson (Flickr)