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Message to Readers
For Aurelia.Valus's contest, #tirelessregret. This is from my character Connor's perspective.
Your piece felt very raw and honest. You were unflinching in your descriptions of Connor, and the way passerby stopped to stare at him really emphasized the effect his grief has on his current mental state. I thought your characterization of Connor was great because his reasons for taking drugs are slowly and thoroughly built up as the piece progresses, so they don't seem too abrupt or contrived. Overall, he seems like a very developed character, and you excelled at providing insight into this thoughts and emotions.
On the other hand, Andrei felt a little flat to me. It seemed like he was mainly there to affect Connor's present, but he didn't seem to have his own life. Only a small part of his backstory was even hinted at when Connor says, "'They had guns! I would have died"'. I would have liked to see you expand more on the events that contributed to Andrei's death. I also think you could have further explored how those traumatizing experiences lead Connor to where he is today.
Overall, I thought your piece succeeded in providing a glimpse into Connor's troubled mind. His addiction felt very raw but understandable because of how deeply you describe his emotions. Even so, I would have liked to see Andrei's character have more depth and backstory.
Besides that, the only criticism I have is that some of your sentences felt a little repetitive. It's not necessarily the sentence structure itself that's the issue. Rather, I think you tend to overuse certain words, like "regret" and "grief". While these words are obviously valid descriptors for Connor's emotions, I think replacing them with synonyms would help eliminate some of the redundancy.