Guilt, Shame and Poverty: Love, Loss, Betrayal


SKU e-book Category

175 in stock


A Collection of Short Stories
By Shane Leah

ISBN: 978-1-84991-198-6
Published: 2010
Pages: 94
Key Themes: short stories, prose, fiction, mental health



‘Shame, well, he doesn’t realize how tough it is to be a dad.’ These words reverberate around Shane Leah’s head like a the sound of an atom bomb going off in his back garden. Shaken by the possibility of him becoming a father for the third time, he goes to pieces and tears down the metaphorical walls that surround him as he searches for the answer to the same problem that he posed himself as a teenager; ‘How can i possibly survive this?’ Survival is assured as he leaves the family home to delve deep into his psyche but will he ever come back? Can he love this child? Or will he beat the babe over the head, treat the news as lies and forever be manipulated by his partner, family and friends?

‘The Devil himself has at least a hand in this… and he is Victor…’

Book Extract

My Affairs of the Heart

In my search to be loved by another, I have suffered many indignities and been enslaved to the passions and whims of people I was entirely dependent on for emotional sustenance. I have been used and abused and what is more, I still am hostage to the expectations of those that surround me. In their estimation, I am suffering from loneliness and neglect of my heart. It is true then, that when I say that I am unloved, you can be certain it is true. Otherwise, might I not say that I feel it in my heart and soul?

Of course, I have the same desires and fantasies as a regular human being but suffer from the terrible affliction of always suspecting we are merely mammals acting out social roles that fulfil us. I half suspect it is true, nevertheless.

The only counter to this malaise of suspicious and paranoid thought, are my suspicious and paranoid thoughts, that witter on to me daily, just as soon as evening arrives or I partake in the smoking of cannabis. These incessant whispers that ruminate on the present conditions of my own malaise to be unloved and unwanted often go in ever decreasing circles as I make a discourse with the disembodied figures of people I know but who are not present with me, at that time.

I guess the symptoms I have just described are crucial and constant to the diagnosis I have been given of Schizophrenia. It is not an illness you would like to be suffering from. Just several years ago when my dreams were at their most lucid, I often found my nocturnal habits would interfere with my waking life. Many times I would settle off to sleep after a lengthy pillow talk with my own alter ego, only to be woken 20 minutes later by my own screaming voice. An insane rage of obscenities would flow from between my own clenched teeth and I would flail my arms around as if hitting or stabbing some invisible demon. Often those demons were those I loved the most, my father, mother, friends and girls I hoped to fall in love with some day. Pity me, because my heart was so deep and so full with the iniquities of a greedy society that sought to replace me, I had no greater love than that of myself. Alone I shall be, and for evermore. That was the question.

And worst, temper of my own demise, it was my desire to love as I dreamed that brought me here. I really, really wanted to believe in the feelings I had in my heart for those I loved, but always I had doubts. And when I was certain? Well, I never was that certain I did have feelings, and much less doubt I ever did love anyone, as others took for granted. Ashamed I may be of my nocturnal desires, but I did believe love would find me one day and then I would know.

The problem as I could see it at 28 years of age, was that life and those I lived it with had taught me some dear and to be true, some wrong lessons. A few things in my life just didn’t stack up. My loneliness just for starters; I seemed to be hated by all and sundry in the town in which I lived. I was reckoned, I believed, to be some kind of beast, an object of derision and scorn. Many thought me to be a paedophile, which was never easy on my conscience as my mind was already tortured with guilt and shame. Much the same could be said for my subconscious belief that I had allegedly raped a girl several years earlier on a drunken night out, and was probably a trigger to the hostile chants I would often shout out loud at the four walls of the flat I inhabited during this period. It was a terrible curse to live under.

Even in my dreams when asleep at night, images of children would enter my mind as I wandered from dreamscape to dreamscape by means of canals, winding lanes and railway tracks; always terminating in a sexual encounter, before waking in my bed with a feeling of guilt and shame. Before long, these erotic fantasies began adversely affecting my waking life. I became sallow in public and especially around children. I would have sleepless nights worrying about the shame of getting caught with my trousers down and yet I could not beat the beast. I was under the control of a force so great it demanded the best of me and discarded the doubts that had plagued my mind for so long. It seemed, I thought, I was in love. At last! Was this the Holy Grail I had searched so long for? My behaviour was criminal and my psychiatrist eventually saw the truth. I was afraid of being unloved.


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