Brutally Honest: 21 - Happy

in story •  4 months ago

One of the notably darker episodes of my adolescence actually concerns someone whom I had never even met. A solitary figure from my past, known displayed all the qualities one would associate with overall positive charisma, jubilation and charm. Any time of the day and throughout the week. This particular story with stay with me for life. It originates from my early teen years, when I’d hang around with Martin with an almost stringent regularity. But first, a brief history on the matter…

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”The Manchester Man” we’d call him. An Irish, plucky, middle-aged man who’s only source of daily interaction appeared to be down the local bookies. Though at the same time, whereas I still cannot recall a single instance I'd spot him conversing with any of the wider community, nobody could deny his jovial spirit and characteristic laugh whenever he’d see you. I’d be chatting with Martin on my front porch (who also happened to live but a street way from me) and we’d hear his rapturous giggling from afar before even laying eyes on him. One could assume he’d won the pools on every visit up there! Passing us, he would bellow out in a loud croak:

“Man United all the way, fellows!”

Being nothing but little tearaway rascals at the time, my friend and I would holler back:

”You’re onto a winner again, mate! Keep going!”

A few fleeting comments later about his bubbly personality and we’d get back to discussing our usual fare. WWF wrestling, death metal and horror movies. Well, this scene repeated itself for many years to come. Decades, even. At least two anyways. “The Manchester Man’s” presence within our tight nit neighbourhood was one of tradition more than anything else. However, one late afternoon, coming back from a “hard” day’s work at school, all that was about to change. I bumped into him on the street. Nothing strange there. In fact, it was almost to be expected. However, this time he "approached" me. Yes, in just over twenty odd years of being considered nothing more than an object worthy of a passing comment, this had the makings of turning into an actual… conversation!

”Hey boyo.” he mumbled, though far from his usual self. Now, more subdued and apprehensive. I admit I was quite taken aback by his new role.

”You couldn’t spare us a fifteen, now. Could you, lad?”

The nervousness in his tone, immediately put me on edge. Skimping out on lunch that day, I had a folded fiver tucked away in my back pocket, but promptly decided upon letting it remain there for a duration until I saw fit.

”Sorry. I’ve got nothing on me.” I replied, placing two hands over both trouser pockets for added confirmation. I didn't even know how to address him. He shook his head in what seemed like serious distress.

”It’s OK, lad.” He murmured, before wandering off up the street. What a weird run-in, I remember thinking to myself. So much so that for the rest of the evening, I didn’t stop pondering over it until sleep called for me to retire to bed.

When someone you know, “does a 180”, as some of my friends aptly referred to it, the order of balance in your life has been disrupted. I mean, “The Manchester Man” not chortling down the street, doling out witty quips to whomever passed him by? Something was clearly amiss, but whatever it may be, I sincerely hoped he’d get things sorted.

Morning arrived and I had barely clambered out of bed when there was a rapid succession of knocks at the front door. Quickly getting changed in a matter of minutes, I ran downstairs to see who it was, only to find Martin staring back at me and looking quite unsettled.

”Man, what’s the matter with you?” I asked, now contemplating that possibly the whole world had turned insane since last evening.

He shoved a newspaper into my face that I hadn’t been aware of up until that point. And the very first “big shock” of my younger days, had slapped me across the face with all the might of an infuriated army drill instructor. There, on the front cover of “The Recorder” (our daily bugle of local affairs) was “The Manchester Man” smiling back at me. The short article below it recounted the horrifying details in relation to the photo.

At some point late last night, he had made his way to our local overground railway station, awaited for the next oncoming train and hurled himself in it’s path. The paper was “gracious” enough to inform the community that not much was left of him afterwards, therefore identification took some time. I was stunned to the core.

”Can you believe this shit?” Martin squealed back. ”He’s gone!”

”My God, mate.” I responded, visibly shaken by the unbelievable revelation. ”And I just saw him only yesterday. What in the hell drove him to do this?” Well, it was obvious we’d never find out. As it soon became common knowledge that in stark contrast to his outwardly cordial demeanour, he was quite the recluse with no direct family or friends.

Well, as the weeks rolled by, my friends discovered our peculiar run-in and mocked in dark humour as to how I’d somehow contributed to his suicide by not handing over that fiver. Though, of course I knew this was not the case. But upon reflection, he’ll remain one character from my childhood memories that I will never forget and always be sorely missed.

RIP, “The Manchester Man”

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Hope you enjoyed this story, please look out for more on the way... (author: @ezzy)


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Sad and scary story of your life. You probably were the last person ever speaking to him. I would be scared for him to pay me a visit in my dreams. I wonder what leads these people to end their lives this nonsense way?

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Totally, bro. I've contemplated that for many years. The thoughts that were going through his mind at the time. The walk up to that train station knowing what he was about to do. Totally horrifying. What drives a person to that state? I can't even being to comprehend, bud...

Well, as the weeks rolled by, my friends discovered our peculiar run-in and mocked in dark humour as to how I’d somehow contributed to his suicide by not handing over that fiver.

I course you can’t blame yourself for what happened to “the Manchester Man”. I’m not a psychologist, but I’m pretty sure he had made up his mind already before he met you. It’s always like that after situations like this. People are asking “what if this, what if that” that’s not how world works. It’s a sad story though.

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Yes buddy, I'm sure he had already gone to that "dark" place and was beyond help at that point. Disturbed the hell out of me though for weeks...

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It makes you wonder, what if you had given him that fiverr, why did he need that fiverr? maybe he had some drug problems and needed his fix, maybe he had huge debts and no one wanted to give him money, maybe he didn't throw himself to the front of the train, maybe someone pushed him!

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They did forensics later that revealed to foul play. This is what we heard anyways. But I think you're right in terms of his probable mounting debts, seeing as he was a plain gambler through and through...

Super! ;) I thank you if you follow and upvote me too. Greetings! (:

You shared a great story here ... I like it very much ...... and are waiting for your next post .... Thanks

Honesty is the best policy dude.

This great story, i appreciate your writing.
upvote and resteemit

Thought maximize an the article but didn't recognize.
Really I appreciate it.

Great story! will be waiting for the next story. Keep it up.

Thanks for this writing sharing..... i like your your blog. keep it up
upvote resteemit done

Thanks for share such a great post.

Loved to read it, I hope there is more to come.

Nice your post

So sad. Gambling should never be your way of life or income, just a fun thing to do for entertainment and daydreaming with a tiny fraction of your spending money.

You have more than your fair share of crazy stories to share. The latest ones however have become a tad more dark, I personally like the fact that there seem to be some sort of message, a bottom line if you will, to every one of your latest tales. I guess in this case the main element one would notice is your personal encounter with the guy and the fact that he was asking you for money, which implies that his gambling finally caught up with him.
Personally, though, I see a much more interesting case in noticing his way of being the kind of dude who's always jovial and smiling, as opposed with what probably was the reality of his life. I guess when you find out the people you know (or in this case, again, that you don't really know) wear a mask like that, you might find yourself guilty of going along with that lie along the years.

Hey darling @ezzy :) This story instantly made me think of the song "Don't worry be happy" and the similar fate of it's singer as the Manchester Man. Perhaps it has something to do with living on a plane that requires a balance, in order to be happy you must also be sad, and if you don't pay it as you go--sorry, just musing, it's not a fully formed thought yet :)
How have you been luv? xo