Trying out some stylised writing, using repetition and a reductive sentence structure. Bit of freewriting fun:



I was 32 when she left with half of what I’d spent my life acquiring. The car, furniture, some knick knacks, a tonne of money. I did not know who I was angry with, or even if I was angry at all.  A friend told me not to worry about all the lost stuff. I told him that I was not.

In fact, the more I thought about what I had lost, and what I had left, the more I decided I had no real interest in keeping any of it. I had spent far too much effort and time trying to keep all of it, and to see it all vanish like it did made me think.

I took a moment to ponder, and decided to activate my save point.

Almost fifteen years had passed since I had last used it. It was a lot of progress, I suppose, but I had clearly taken a path that led nowhere. I held my breath, and loaded my last saved moment.


I looked at the heavily-vandalised wooden desk and was hit with a wave of nostalgia. On the desk were two pieces of paper: applications for two different universities. I remembered, now. This was moments before I had chosen which university to go to. I had saved, just in case my choice had been terrible. Turns out it hadn’t. I’d had so much fun I had completely forgotten about the save point, but every time I made a tough decision, I couldn’t bring myself to save. Just in case I still wanted to try the other university.

I hesitated. Eventually, I went with the same option. After all, it was my marriage that had fallen apart, that was it.

It’s a strange experience, reliving moments from half a lifetime ago. At first I had been terrified to do anything. What if the smallest action changed the friendships I had made? I stuck to the story I knew.

She left me when I was 32.

No. Somehow, fifteen years had passed again. Slowly, life unfolded itself, and I met a girl who would later become my wife. She seemed different then, and even with my extra years of experience, I was fooled into meeting with her. We got along, and when I was 32, she left me.


I chose the second university. The education was good, I think. It’s hard to tell: I’ve learnt all of this before, twice. And spent a decade practising it. The education was good, but the people were not. They felt wrong, off. I managed the first year, thrilled at the prospect of a completely fresh chance, to become somebody I never thought I would. I suffered in the last two years. It was wrong. I knew it, but struggled through. You never knew. I thought, strangely, of Andy Dufrense. I crawled through shit, but it never ended. Four years later, I told myself it wasn’t right. The people hadn’t been right. The jobs hadn’t been right.


I chose the first university again. But I stayed away from everyone. After all, I had only met her through my friends. Without them, my path could be clear. I found new people, those I had ignored the first time round.

The education wad good, but the people were not. I knew why I had gravitated towards the first group in the first place. They did not relax or enjoy themselves the way my friends did. They were aggressive, and loud. But were these people worse? Was I too adjusted to my first choice?

I struggled through. Four years later, I admitted to myself that it wasn’t right. The people led to jobs, and neither had been right.


She left me when I was 32.

I had tried again, a similar path to my first attempt, to see how it felt. It was shallow, and strange. Everything was new to these people, but it was old, rehashed. My body was young, yet my bones ached with an age they did not have. Age was entirely in the mind, and mine felt ancient.

I looked at my save point, and tried not to cry when I thought about going back fifteen years. To experience what I had already experienced was not enough of a pain; I had to act like it was my first time each time. Every time made it worse: now, the people who had felt right, no longer did.


I considered the second university again. My pen hovered over the application forms. I considered throwing them both out, and finding somewhere else. There were a million possibilities.

I tried again, a similar path to my previous attempts. I was cold to her, I kept her at a distance. My friends remained so. Perhaps this worked. I could not tell you. I broke my spine in a road accident unrelated.


This happened every time I chose that path. No matter what happened, I found myself at that same intersection. If I chose to be somewhere else, the world moved on without me. Suddenly, the people weren’t right. What happened?

I tried again.


Not right.

She left me when I was 32.


I chose the first university. I did not know how to do so otherwise. To choose anything else would be unthinkable. It would be a crime against everything I knew and understood. I went to the first day, some months later. I paused.

For the first time in what was an eternity, I overwrote it. There were no other choices. This was it. I overwrote.

I overwrote on the second day.

And the third.

On the fourth, I tried to ask a girl out. She laughed. I went back to the third.

On the fifty-eighth, I missed a deadline. I had been busy with another deadline. This affected my overall score. It had always annoyed me. I went back to the fifty-seventh.

On the hundred-and-ninety-ninth, I asked her out. I can’t even remember why. I knew she would leave me when I was 32. I went back to the hundred-and-ninety-eighth. I learnt, and asked myself questions.


On the hundred-and-ninety-eighth, I was hostile. She cried. On the hundred-and-ninety-ninth, I woke up next to her. I did not ask myself why.

She left me when I was 32.


I overwrote it. I can’t remember why.


On the three-hundred-and-forty-second, I asked her out. I can’t remember why.


I relived the same minute, seven hundred times. Sometimes I cannot make choices. I stopped after the seven-hundred-and-fifth attempt. I overwrote it.


On the four thousandth day, I hesitated. It had been thirty thousand days. More. I did not want to go back. But I did not want to move forward.  

The people were right, the jobs were right. She said yes.

She left me when I was 32. I overwrote.