A submission from Arthur Carrey, from Canada. This is the beginning of a novel of his and he's asked for advice on the opening.
It had always burned with a soft lull he found difficult to resist. He had occasionally even thought himself a rather inclined philanthropist, but of course, one did not mean the other. His happiness began and ended in one selfish nomadic thought, and rarely lasted any longer.
He held squarely on the flat of his palm a thinly veiled glass that caught his eyes, but not attention. To others he seemed familiarly faded, lost in the amber he swirled so delicately. His mind was certainly elsewhere, though it was in fact far from lost.
His mind was on the moments he’d first try to outrun. The fleeting senses he’d never really faced, despite constantly telling himself otherwise. It was trapped between the cowering and the vulnerability of his numbed thoughts.
After a moment he saw he’d soon have no choice. His mind betrayed him, just as the drink did. It steered him not away from the torment, but head first, rudder fixed. Slowly letting in the waters of despondency that lapped at his mind’s edge, as though all suppressed thoughts were eagerly awaiting their turns to be addressed.
And how he feared them all.
There were in fact very few memories he did not shy away from. And fewer still that he looked to intentionally. Something about the past held an air of remorse he could not stand against.
Not alone anyway.
But that there was a thought he could bring himself to ponder.
What did that look like now? It was a sense he’d known without ever really knowing at all. Would someone else give him what he needed to go back?
That held his mind a second.
But even the wonderings of a partner could not hold at bay what the slow spreading warmth prodded at. It wanted to know why.
But then again, so did he.
On some level at least.
He wanted to know why it was that strength, no stranger, had failed him only the very moment he’d needed it most. Why his way with words had vanished only when called to finally say something important.
He knew pity to be a dangerous feeling, but he could not stop it. It filled the holes in his chest with a shaky relief, but a relief nonetheless.
He had fallen. So far.
He felt his eyes fall to the now empty glass once more but this time he couldn't find it in himself to pull them away.
This time he was lost.