Every week on the podcast, Steve reads a story sent in by a listener in a segment called History Road. If you want to get your story on the podcast, just use the form provided here or send it in an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A brisk early evening lit dimly by the red light of the neon grocery shop sign wrote the tone for the night I was about to have. A grocery bag heaved in each hand told of basic necessities, nothing more nothing less. I was content to this point with the simple life. My simple life was a cat, a book, a hobby, and a drink with a nice stream of reflective thoughts, as a conclusion to my day. I knew the simple life should be enough for anyone, especially me. Right? An encounter of which could only be told by fate itself determined a course I never expected for my simple life.
I hurled the two grocery bags into the back of my car without a care for its contents. Thank all for plastic, right? I’ve always been anxious with evening driving, but this particular night was fraught with an unexpected confidence, so I adjusted my commonly lax posture erect. The driver door remained open as I adjusted some belongings I always kept in the passenger foot space. I stood back up to scan the area and heard a voice. “Excuse me.” A shrill voice echoed through the night. Of all the damn voices, I hate shrill ones. They only spell danger for my sanity.
“Yes?” I was unsure entirely if he was speaking to me, but I glanced a bit longer and decided to respond.
“Yeah, hi, ya got some time for an elder, son?” He seemed to mean well, behind his disheveled, ragged jacket tinted a dark red by the evening neon.
“Sure, but I should be heading back pretty soon, I gotta feed my cat and all.” I chuckled a bit, noticing the drab nature of the comment.
The old man pulled from some rather clean jeans a crumpled envelope. The envelope showed age, but some care. “Now, I’m usually not so bold, but I need you to read this.”
His hands shook with anxiety. He was unsure of himself that much I could tell. Who isn’t, though?
“Okay. Nice stamp.” The stamp was one of an octopus. I was particularly fond of aquatic life in my younger years, a diluted passion with age. The old man smiled, proud of it, as well.
I opened the envelope with care. Property not of your own should be handled with care. After all, it isn’t yours. I grabbed the double creased letter from the envelope and opened a hand-written letter.
The letter’s handwriting was surprisingly neat. I saw that care was taken to each sentence of this letter. The letter began with: “Hello, my Daisy.” “I miss you. I miss us. I am living alone now, but I enjoy it. No one to tell me what to do is a definite perk of solitude. I remember you always had a tendency to assert your independence. You had a tough life I could never understand, but I loved you for all you became. That’s all I could do: love you with all I had. I remember our trip to Lake Erie. We called it our “Eerie Trip” because we loved scary stories and we loved telling them. I liked the most the one with the hat and the grand piano. Oh, what a trip, Daisy! What a trip. The pictures born of our spooky trip keep me sane. I know a nice cup of Earl Grey and a small back-and-forth of our feelings was your remedy for my down times. That was my remedy, too, Daisy. Our trips were something else, weren’t they? Our visit to New York solidified my love for you; I knew then I could love no other as much as you. The evening stroll of which etched a permanent mark of yours into myself shall be shared for years to come. I wish just once more to sit on the Central Park’s “best bench” and debate the greatest songs of the 20th century with you. I could always tell Jim Croce’s “Time in a Bottle” meant more to you than you let on. But I never pried with that song. Never. Daisy, I’ve droned on for too long now. Your infectious smile beams even still, my love. You will remain ever-long my eternal partner, my greatest friend, my husband. Thank you, Paul, for sharing your life with such a fool. I love you. May you rest in peace. Good-bye.”
With love, Tom
I was struck. I stood clasping the letter with confusion and sadness in each hand. I picked my head up, eyes wide, glasses too low. I could not begin to understand why this happened. I opened my mouth to speak, but –
“I’m sorry. I knew this was too much to ask.” The man paced back and slipped his beanie off his head with disappointment, revealing a receding hairline, but shaggy hair nonetheless.
“No. It’s… I…” I couldn’t get the words out, but they were there. My anxiety usually struck as a lightning bolt to the senses. I could say it, though. I needed to say it.
“Sir, first of all, this letter is great. I’m speechless, but I have only a single complaint.”
“Yea?” The old man was eager to know.
“Why “Daisy”? Why was he called Daisy?” I wanted to know more than anything who Daisy was. Why Daisy was Daisy.
“Oh. I’d love to tell you.” The old man smiled for the first time a toothy grin that I never forgot.
But this is all a story for another time.
I made all this up. None of what I wrote was real. History Road became an outlet for story-telling, if anything. You don’t have to read this on the podcast; it seems too long, anyway. But I’d love a response with any critiques on my writing. Maybe History Road could be a segment for fan-submitted/personal stories, though!
Thanks for reading so far,
Nicolas Torres (Spectrums4)
Hello, my good boys.
My name is Jake Rouse (pronounced like house) and I am here to tell you the 100% true story of my gooooood buddy and the time love escaped his firm grasp. Let’s call him… Kelvin.
It was a warm Saturday night. Myself, Kelvin, and other decide to take a trip to our old time favorite grub place, Panera Bread. We order and all take a seat with our yummies. Kelvin got salad. After a hefty thirty minutes of chat, Kelvin took a step outside for some fresh air. He wasn’t feeling to swell that night. Recovering from a cold. For a couple minutes, Kelvin sat alone, looking at the stars and singing his favorite sea shanties…Until she showed up. A girl with fiery red hair and a smile he described as unbelievably gorgeous. Panera Bread Girl.
“Hey, I love that song. Do you mind if I sing with you?”
Kelvin invited her to sit down with him. The two sat singing songs together for a while, laughing together, making small talk. The usual flirty scene. Other and I could see through the window that they were hitting it off quite nicely. They chatted for about 30 minutes until the girl had to head home. Kelvin got up to say goodbye to which the girl responded with an inviting hug. Kelvin was convinced that this was the girl of his dreams. The two held it for about 3 seconds. However, the hug was one second too short. As Kelvin pulled away from her, an unstoppable tickle infested his throat. Before he could protect Ms. Panera from himself, he fired a wet cough directly into her face from .blank.
Everything was still. No one moved for what felt like an hour. Other and I sat in aw. Kelvin starred directly ahead in search for a mirical reaction. His search was pointless. Panera Bread Girl took one step back, wiped off her face, and began walking in the other direction. Kelvin did not move.
There was no exchange of phone numbers. No Instagram. They didn’t even learn each other’s names. All that was left is a memory. Who knows if she was the one. Who knows if Panera Bread girl even remember? All that was left is a memory. The fiery haired girl is gone. A man is kept up with what could have become. All that is left is a memory.