Sylvester Knew…

This piece was written by spechaar contributor, Matthew Garrad.

“I can’t stand to think my life is going so fast and I’m not really living it.” 

-Ernest Miller Hemingway

Sylvester had been staring at that quote for the past two hours. Every single minute of those two hours Sylvester had spent repeating the quote, firmly grabbing his near-full deep blue ink pen as if it were a knife and blinding himself with a laptop light that had pierced its way across the room, finally reflecting itself in the mirror of Sylvester’s red eyes. 

For the past eighteen years Sylvester’s condition had trapped him in a prison inside his very home. He found himself on house arrest. Sylvester wanted to go outside, not just to enjoy the soothing grass or even the gleaming sunlight. Sylvester wanted to go outside to live his life: a life where doctors didn’t incessantly warn Sylvester of the dangers of the outside world. A life where Sylvester’s world was the deep, blue sea and not the empty, dark world of his bedroom. A life where Sylvester could do as he pleased. A normal life was Sylvester’s greatest desire. 

Sylvester had been tasked earlier that day by his English teacher to write an essay on a given quote by Hemingway. A Hemingway quote, really? Sylvester could do any literary or musical task given to him by a teacher, and without a doubt achieve flying colours on said task, except for this damned essay. When Sylvester was twelve, Sylvester had easily memorised Für Elise on both the piano and the harpsichord. When Sylvester was thirteen, Sylvester had read all of J. R. R. Tolkien’s works. 

Sylvester knew Ernest Miller Hemingway, and how this author chose to live his abnormal life. 

Sylvester knew all of the horrible and extreme antics that Ernest Miller Hemingway had performed. Sylvester knew that Ernest Miller Hemingway was born in Chicago, in 1899, as the son of a musician and a physician. Sylvester knew that after a tumultuous childhood, Ernest Miller Hemingway enlisted in the war with the Red Cross and eventually met his first wife while she cared for him, as his nurse. Sylvester knew that what followed was only how Ernest Miller Hemingway’s first wife left him for an Italian soldier. Sylvester also knew that Ernest Miller Hemingway had eventually moved to Paris, shortly after marrying his roommate’s sister, where he first started writing.

Sylvester knew that after that Ernest Miller Hemingway had moved to Toronto and had a child, only to move back to Paris, cheat on his wife, get divorced and then marry the other woman. Sylvester knew that eventually Ernest Miller Hemingway had moved to Kansas City, had two more children, learned his father killed himself, started hunting wild animals and published another novel. 

Sylvester also knew that Ernest Miller Hemingway then moved to Cuba where he had – again – cheated on his wife, got divorced and married the other woman. Sylvester knew that shortly afterwards Ernest Miller Hemingway would publish ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls’, which had sold over half a million copies within months and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Sylvester knew that Ernest Miller Hemingway eventually had again gotten divorced due to another affair, which was followed by another marriage, and had gotten away with contravening the Geneva Convention. 

Sylvester also knew that Ernest Miller Hemingway then settled down by moving back to Cuba on a boat tracking Nazi U-Boats with a machine gun and hand grenades as well as working with KGB, which he was almost arrested for by J. Edgar Hoover. Sylvester also knew the sad ending of Ernest Miller Hemingway’s life as Ernest Miller Hemingway had become depressed, which led to suicidal behaviour, and then received electro convulsive therapy for his depression which clearly failed to work as he sadly had committed suicide in 1961. 

Sylvester knew how Ernest Miller Hemingway is the pinnacle of the most hated artist with the most loved art. Sylvester knew that Ernest Miller Hemingway was a lying, cheating and alcoholic Catholic, with a long list of misdeeds and immoral actions, that produced the most loved pieces of literature known to mankind, which is evident due to the author having won a Nobel Prize in Literature. That is why Sylvester had no clue how to write this essay because, unlike Ernest Miller Hemingway, Sylvester had no clue on how to live life. 

This quote had left Sylvester frustrated. The dark room Sylvester sat in remained clouded with his puzzling thoughts. Sylvester wondered to himself how he could write this essay about living life to the fullest when he himself didn’t even have a life worth living. Even if Sylvester had wanted to, which he had, he could not even live a life that possessed a fraction of the eventfulness that was Ernest Miller Hemingway’s life. Sylvester wondered if his life was worth living, because of his condition having prevented the normal things Sylvester would have loved if he had a normal life. 

Then it hit Sylvester. The one thought of reassurance that allowed Sylvester to prevent the existentialism he was having from constantly reading that quote. Sylvester realised that he did not want to write about the life he had. Sylvester realised he wanted to write about the life he so desperately desired. Sylvester felt nervous to write out his desires but he knew what he needed to do. Sylvester began to write.