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by Dan the man 

Posted: 21 October 2018
Word Count: 885

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It was the most courageous letter Alec could wring from his restrained spirit. There was no mumbling apology for what his mother saw as his shortcomings. Now he asked without fear, Did you ever love me? A question he would not have dared posed in any of his forty-two years.
    Sally Morgan MBE, wife of Phillip Morgan, Tory MP, demanded excellence from her son; the highest level of personal achievement. And Alec gave it. Not for gain of motherly love, nor happiness; but to elevate her standing in the community.
    There was a confident determined grip of the pen. Yet thoughts of the recipient stayed his usual bold flourish.
     I have given my life to study at university and medical school, achieving beyond any belief in my capabilities.
 Hovering the presentation pen over the paper, Alec reflected on how stressful his life had been. Initially the need to match his father's expectations; later, the coercive pressure exerted by his mother. At university, he struggled applying himself to his studies. In his second year, his father died during an election rally. He grasped his chest when a sharp pain interrupted his speech, dropping to the floor, as a moviemaker would have directed.
    The big man had fallen. The oak was felled. Alec had lived in the shadow of those branches. Not in a protected way. His mother saw to that. No, she regularly reminded him he would always be a sapling. He could never reach his father‘s height, nor become the son she would be proud of.
    You sent me into life with such low self-esteem, and lacking confidence. I believed your mantra that I would amount to nothing.  For that, I truly despise you.
    The dislike of her son left Alec floundering socially. He avoided non-academic gatherings, relating only to geeky types who had little self-awareness. His awkwardness made it difficult to concentrate on his studies. To those who did not understand his shyness he appeared abrupt and aloof. To avoid associating with fellow students he embraced nature in the hills and woodland alone.
   Although you left me ill prepared for this world, I succeeded, if only to hurt you and prove you wrong. I fought hard for respect from my peers; something you said could never happen. It was the spur to become the successful man I knew you would hate.
    Heading up the heart transplant team at St.Andrews, Alec became youngest surgeon to reach such a position. Research and innovation in transplant surgery, and his skills in the theatre brought him international acclaim. As a man, however Alex was defined by his brusque manner with colleagues and patients. He was sympathetic to their suffering, and empathised with their pain, concentrating instead on working diligently, utilising his considerable skills to heal them. He was simply a shy lonely man - that was until recently.
    In carrying out my duty, as you so often insisted upon, I have risen to great heights, garnered professional acclaim, and saved lives. Yes, mother, I have saved lives. Could father have boasted that?
    Alec had stood with his parent on many political platforms feigning smiling admiration for his father. But he despised the man for his self-absorption, the indifference towards his son in the climb to the top of a parliamentary career. His mother fared no better in his opinion for dining out on her elevated status in the eyes of the community, and for the scant regard shown for his childhood happiness. Maintaining her social status was paramount.
    Escaping into his studies, he filled the void with ambition, reaching the top of his profession only to realise it was for all the wrong reasons. Inside he was a man of nature. Surgery was where his skills lay; the world outside where is heart dwelled. The journey to the top had been about revenge.
    Even as a child, you couldn’t let me enjoy being a Boy Scout. My happiest days were associating with what you called the hoi polloi. Even that you engineered to ruin; forcing me to become a leader, to amass more badges than the rest, until my pals came to dislike me; not by association, but because of your condescending attitude to their parents. Being out in the wild meant so much to me. You knew that, yet you insisted I became an academic against all my natural leanings.
    In the university environment, his outdoor pursuits were not in alignment with his medical profession. Yet out in the hills and countryside he could be himself.
    Mother, last year I saved a young woman’s life. Her name is Flo (such a common name I hear), and she has a little girl, Avril, two years old, born out of wedlock (Oh the shame of it, eh?) Worse still, she lives on a council estate. We are in love and deliriously happy. Next week I shall be moving into her home. Her father is a forester and I shall be joining him as a woodland manager.
    Alec signed the letter. Laying it on his desk he re-read it, underlining passages he wanted to emphasise, and correcting any grammar and spelling. Then with a satisfied smile, he rocked back in his chair, screwed the letter into a ball and threw it into the bin.

881 words.


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Comments by other Members

euclid at 17:47 on 21 October 2018  Report this post
Loved it.

Especially the last line.
Said it all.

Spotted a small typo: where [h]is heart dwelled

Good story.


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