A Real Gentleman by Terveen Gill

Tell me the truth and I’ll turn it into a lie.

Give me hope and I’ll squeeze till every ounce of its goodness bleeds from it.

I’m the guy you never wanted to sit next to in school or on the bus.

It’s a long story and I’ll never tire from telling it. Bet you won’t stick around to hear it.

There’s something wrong with my attitude, but no one spends enough words to tell me.

See me coming towards you? Walk the other way. It’ll save me the trouble of looking at your scornful face.

I’ve been sitting too much, not doing what you think I should. That could explain the decay in my brain. I don’t smell anything rotten, but smells have a way of taking over your senses.

Never made it to college. What is that place anyways? Who’s going to work on a piece of shit like me?

My mom died trying.

Her words still come after me.

You have to take responsibility of your own life.

There’s no substitute for hard work.

Effort shows when you put in some.

That poor woman never got through to me. She could’ve been speaking Chinese for all I care.

It was easier to lash out at her and blame her for the person I was becoming. Good moms rarely strike back.

I knew that and took advantage of it.

What good did it do?

She’s gone. I’m still here. And a worser person than I ever was.

Nobody tolerates my garbage. People look right through me.

Maybe I’m invisible. But the mirror shows a different reality.


I can call myself that. You can’t. So don’t even try it.

I could’ve been a real gentleman. But then there would’ve been too many.

Somebody has to keep the balance.

That person is probably me.

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30 comentarios sobre “A Real Gentleman by Terveen Gill

    1. The positive side, from my understanding, is that he is aware of his wretched nature- if it is, indeed, truly wretched and not his own thoughts making this false judgment.

      One moment I perceived his depression over his personhood, but in the finale, I sensed pride.

      Sometimes my interpretations of life settings are different than others, but this is how I read it.

      Grand story!

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  1. I honestly believe that some people try to be distant, mean and ornery. I think it is because they aren’t comfortable in their own skin. Then there is this guy on the bus who every one is afraid of, there are too many people like this. Great piece Terveen. I always wonder what makes people truly scary. Loved these lines.

    “I’ve been sitting too much, not doing what you think I should. That could explain the decay in my brain. I don’t smell anything rotten, but smells have a way of taking over your senses.” Big hugs 🤗 Joni

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    1. Thanks so much, Joni. And you’re right. Low self-worth often brings out all the insecurities in the most ugly way possible. Thanks for reading and sharing the lines you liked. As humans, we tend to confuse ourselves and complicate situations even more. I wish there was some reasoning that could release people from this horrible bind…

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      1. You are very welcome. It was a great story. You always write about things that make us really examine the human condition. Yes, it would be nice if there were a way to release us from the binds that cause such ugliness to grow. Sending big hugs 🤗

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  2. Oh boy, I’ve been around people like this. «Unsavory» barely scratches the surface. Honestly, at first I envisioned «the former guy» (flaming narcissist, orange face, bad comb-over, aspirations of authoritarianism, etc.), but this could be anyone, including the school bully or the abusive co-worker or the tyrant boss or teacher or some Joe Blow on the street with a bad attitude. Your words sculpt this character to perfection. What an intense, well penned read. 🙂

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    1. I like how you bring out examples of this ‘no gentleman’. I think many are simply born with these traits and condition their own lives to support the callousness and negativity. Power and success figure nowhere if you can’t even be civil and decent. Perhaps certain minds can’t process what’s right or wrong or plain unacceptable. They trouble themselves and the pain splashes upon others. Thanks so much, Mike, for the awesome comment. It made the words and thoughts flow. 🙂

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    1. Thanks a lot, Geoff. I used to sit alone on the bus too. I guess being the odd one out (the only Indian in a small town elementary school) can have its disadvantages. And I believe there’s a little of this guy in each one of us. How much? That’s the only difference. 🙂

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  3. Amazing write, Terveen. It reminds me of the internal dialogue we all have, and how toxic it can be for some people, especially when they’ve not been taught emotional regulation and about the mind. There’s also something to the notion of balance. In that, it’s easy to condemn people for their actions, and much harder to have compassion for people living out their lives to the best of their ability. Lots of reflections from me on this late Sunday evening. Reading you is always a wonderful way to end my evening. Have a gorgeous coming week, my dear friend. ☺️

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    1. You say this so wonderfully, Jeff. Condemning comes very easily even when the circumstances and experiences differ greatly. And emotional regulation is so important. Without it, the mind and heart are always fighting it out, and it can lead to breakdowns and exhaustion. I appreciate that you are open-minded and kind hearted. Beautiful qualities. Thank you so much and have a great weekend ahead. 🙂

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