Marvin’s Reality

Rana's Words
Writers’ Blokke
Published in
6 min readApr 9, 2024


“My whole life has been excruciatingly ordinary, sub-par, and sometimes even underwhelming. I soon accepted that I am, unconditionally unremarkable.”

Photo by Johnny Cohen on Unsplash

Marvin sat stiffly on his wheelchair in front of a large table, with a vibrant chocolate birthday cake set before him, and three candles nestled in the dessert. Around him were two of his friends from his retirement home, both weakly clapping as they sang Happy Birthday to him. On top of his head of silver wisps of hair, a bright green with blue polka dots birthday hat sat, entirely juxtaposing his grim face.

“Make a wish, Marvin.” William, his oldest friend, quivered as he smiled at Marvin encouragingly.

Marvin sighed desolately, and leaned forward in his seat, glumly gazing at the cake. “What’s the point?”

His friends observed him in slight concern as he grunted and blew out the candles halfheartedly. “Very well, then. Now what?”

“Is something the matter, Marvin?” One of his friends, Thomas, asked him gently.

“Everything’s the bloody matter.” Marvin grumbled. “Another year’s been wasted on this blasted wheelchair. All I do is watch some telly, eat Gertrude’s bland food in the cafeteria, and sleep. I am a useless sack of rotten potatoes.”

“No, you are not.” William protested, but Marvin weakly waved a hand at his friend dismissively.

“No, it is true. What have I done with my life that is worthwhile?” Marvin asked his friends rhetorically, but Thomas did not seem to get the hint.

“You married a lovely woman and had five children!” He answered, proud of himself.

“Yes, and my lovely wife passed away and left me behind twelve years ago, and none of my five children have come to see me over the last eight years.” Marvin sniffed the crisp air distastefully.

Thomas and William exchanged wary glances, worrying for their old friend who was experiencing a rather late existential crisis.

“All my life, I have lived by the books. I never stepped out of line, and I never did anything to upset or disappoint my parents, bless them. They raised me well, they did.” Marvin went on.

“Bless them, yes.” William and Thomas chorused, still eyeing the old man.

“But I never had the time to do what I liked. I focused all my time on serious matters that I actually forgot to live my life in the process. I wasted my life …”

“Surely you didn’t waste all of it though, did you?” Thomas asked meekly, though, judging by the pointed look Marvin shot him, Thomas felt inexplicably sad for his dear friend.

“Goodness, Marvin. Nothing?” William blinked dubiously, and Marvin’s eyes welled with disappointed tears.

“My whole life has been excruciatingly ordinary, sub-par, and sometimes even underwhelming. I soon accepted that I am, unconditionally unremarkable.” Marvin let out a tiny sob, and dabbed at his eyes with a napkin on the table.

A few moments of silence washed over the three of them, before William burst into action. “Well, let’s not waste any more of it, hmm?”

Marvin furrowed his bushy brows at him. “What’re you talking about?”

Thomas eyed William curiously, and William grinned brightly as his shaky, wrinkly hand reached for the cake before them. He grabbed a fistful of cake in his palm, before looking at Marvin with a childish glint in his eyes that carried years of wisdom with it. “I’ve seen you watching films where you’d laugh delightfully at scenes of children having food fights. Tell us, Marvin — you ever been in a food fight?”

Marvin looked utterly puzzled, spluttering, “I … well, no — I haven’t.”

Right as he answered, the crushed cake in William’s hand was splattered across Marvin’s face so suddenly, causing the Birthday Man to gasp in shock. Thomas’s mouth was gaping open, astounded by what he’d just witnessed, while William laughed uncontrollably, clutching his frail chest as he did.

“William, you’re making a mess.” Marvin scolded him, but William shrugged innocently.

“Don’t be so glum — you’re not the one cleaning the mess, are you?” He raised his brows, and Thomas laughed.

“No, but poor Beth-” Marvin started.

“Is not so poor Beth when she switches off the gaming console because it’s ‘bed time’. We’re in our very late eighties, not eight years old. If I want to stay up playing what these cool kids call Fortnight, then I will.” William huffed defensively, causing both Marvin and Thomas to laugh.

“You tell them, William.” Thomas grinned. “It’s not like we need to be up early the next day, do we?”

Suddenly, William’s face was smacked with cake, and he whipped his head round to regard Marvin, who was laughing. “You’re right, Will. I can’t believe I never got the chance to do this in my life.”

“What about me?!” Thomas exclaimed, feeling left out as he scooped up some cake and threw it on Marvin’s head, causing the old man to laugh loudly.

“Go on then, Marv. What else have you missed out on?” William asked his friend curiously.

“It’s never too late to start living your life.” Thomas added. “As long as it doesn’t involve running, you can still do anything.”

Marvin couldn’t help but laugh once again, for once in a long time, feeling hopeful, even if it was a tiny bit.

“I’d like to sky dive, actually.” Marvin admitted. “But we’re far too old to do that now.”

“Hmm.” Thomas tapped his chin thoughtfully. “I wouldn’t be so sure about that.”


“You’re joking!” Marvin gasped incredulously as a nurse helped him, along with his other friends back into the sitting room, the three of them looking exhilarated and bright-faced as their eyes twinkled delightfully. “A virtual reality sky diving experience? That felt far too real.”

“It felt as though I really did jump off that plane.” William spoke breathlessly as he briefly shut his eyes.

“That was incredible!” Marvin went on, as Thomas looked smug for having this idea to begin with.

“Thank you for the best birthday I’ve had in years, boys.” Marvin smiled gratefully at the two of them, and they instantly returned it with bright grins of their own.

“We’re here to remind each other that no matter how old we get on the outside, it is our hearts and minds that truly determine how old we get.” William tapped Marvin’s hand gently.

“And once we start to notice you returning to that brooding, miserable lump of a man, we’ve got some more fun experiences up our sleeves to remind you of how wonderful you actually are — and that your life can be as exciting as you allow it.” Thomas smiled encouragingly, and Marvin’s heart warmed with appreciation towards his friends.

If he wasted years of his life before, he certainly wasn’t about to waste what was left of it. At least he had his friends to share his remaining experiences with, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Look who’s here to see you, Marvin.” Nurse Beth addressed him from the living room entrance with a cheeky smile, and Marvin’s eyes widened in disbelief at the sight of his five children walking into the room, with his grandchildren in their arms.

“SURPRISE!” They yelled in unison as they all moved to embrace him lovingly. Marvin, although utterly surprised, was beyond grateful for their visit, his eyes drinking in their sight in full detail as he truly felt how much he’d missed his children and grandchildren. When he turned briefly to look at his two friends, they winked and smiled sheepishly, and it was then that he knew that it was his friends who had called his children to come visit.

He should be cross with his children for not coming to see him all those years. He should be disappointed and hurt — but after today, Marvin figured there is no point in wasting any more time being miserable and upset. He would cherish every beautiful moment, with everyone he loved and cared about.

He wouldn’t have it any other way now.



Rana's Words
Writers’ Blokke

There's infinite beauty in the countless worlds of fiction.