First of all, here's the finalized cover of the print version of REQUIEM.
Last winter, times were as tough as they have ever been for me, and I'm not proud to admit I was in quite a dark place in my own mind. No need to go into it. Transitions of any kind are notoriously painful, especially when they require longer than any of us are ready to allow.
And so, I began writing the story of a failed man named Kenneth Glass, who happened to be in worse circumstances than me. Life had gotten so tough for Ken that he began asking himself if everyone would just be better off if he weren't around, particularly his estranged wife and son.
We meet Ken at the burial of his best friend. After all the mourners leave, Ken is approached by an old man, one of the gravediggers. He thinks little of the man before him until the man begins to share some eerily accurate insights.
Forced to take shelter in an old, dank outbuilding by a storm, the man engages Ken into a conversation filled with cryptic statements and strange riddles, along with the a knowledge of Ken's every thought, slowly driving our suffering hero into a life-changing realization. The epiphany comes at a steep price, and Ken faces the consequences of his jaded attitude toward life.
What will it take for someone to stop wasting another minute on recriminations for sins past? What does it take to snap out of self-pity and understand that once we reach acceptance, determination follows? What do we need to be shown so we don't turn away from life?
Those are some of the question that forged the lines of REQUIEM.
Once again, the characters held certain parallels to my own life, except for the mysterious cemetery man. In all honesty, I don't know where he came from, but much like he did for Ken...
He changed my own attitudes, and that's what makes this story so special.
Today I'm thankful for another breath of air that tells me I'm alive and well, and I can make of the rest of my life what I want it to be. I broke down and decided to make a print version of this short story.
In an effort to give readers a little more than expected, I also added a showcase. Basically, excerpts from everything else I've written. I want to give new readers a chance to sample The Gaze, The Next Chapter, My Two Flags, and John & Ezekiel, not only to entice someone to pick up one of those novels for their next read, but also to remind myself that none of the countless hours of writing were spent in vain.
I've accomplished more than I thought I ever could.
I've gained some terrific new friends through the writing, and I've tasted the sweetness of success in readers' opinions.
Transitions of any kind are notoriously painful, and it's easy to remain bugged down in regret and uncertainty that we miss the high points we all make for ourselves. Everything we do has meaning, especially stories born of an impulse to bring something to life on the page.
REQUIEM allowed me to quiet all the discordant noise in my mind so I can hear the melody of life once again. It became more than a short story, and I can't wait to see it in someone else's hands.
Javier A. Robayo
***This book is dedicated to the memory of two of my high school friends, who left us before their time, Christopher Papp and Joe Budahazy. We will meet again, brothers.
REQUIEM is available from Amazon and javierrobayoauthor.com