Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Glimpse Of a Dead Man
They move in the shadows, observing the living. They must do as the others do to seem as the others do. Baseball games hiding in the cheering crowd, daily jobs of mortal terror, small abodes rarely visited - always bleeding, always needing, hoping to blend their dying hearts within the mosaic of life. Who would they have been? What is their sin? How does this happen? No one dare ask.
Sidney decorated the sun. His lawn green as summer and his outdoor paint right as rain. These were the last great hopes in his life. If driving down the neighborhood his house appeared as well kept and attended as the rest then he'd done his job. Nothing gave him more satisfaction - or more grief - than breathing life into this fiction. Sidney lived for the moment of illusion his façade got the respect he himself desperately craved. Who cares if they find out the truth later on, just please believe for a second before you leave!
Sometimes he hid in the attic, looking to escape the wrong and the right, to be neither home nor away. But those were the worst of times: nightmares of been left for dead in the desert, forests filled with half-human creatures hunting the remaining human, flashes of light having captured him unaware exposed before God and Man. The harder Sidney looked for rest, the less he found. Like any thief, for him a moment given must be a moment stolen. Oh, for the sunbathing daughter next door to return home from college. Her careless laughter never left his ears.
Time was not on his side. Peeking through the window drapes, he prayed for a car to drive by to be duly impressed by his immaculate yard. Solid citizen, that Sidney! At commercial breaks he'd sneak over to the window to check for the thrill of possible life breathed into his lie. As he peered through the carefully unnoticeable crack, the TV blared bikini models with beer bottles on a foreign planet, Sidney's connection to the living world fed through fiber optic cable. He thought to himself as he gazed on his sun-drenched yard: you'll love me if you don't get to know me.
Sometimes he had to make forays into the real world. Though at times the inside of his house fell into deep disarray just from a sheer lack of will to live, Sidney knew he had to keep his bases covered for any potential visitors. He'd bought a Japanese print he needed framed and that meant outside contact in a public setting. Sidney girded himself. Remember, you only have as many problems as they think you have. Bluff your way through, Peachy!
It was like standing barefoot on a frying pan waiting at the framer's desk at Michaels. No one was around as Sidney madly debated what to do. What would a normal person do in this situation? Would they stay or would they go? Am I making a fool of myself just standing here? Shit, why can't someone be here when I show up?? Then Sidney got his answer when the framing clerk returned with a customer fallen from the heavens.
"Magic Chemistry" was the only phrase he could come up with later. The minute he saw Her mad passion filled his body. Sidney's inhibitions melted and even his old nemesis Fear loosened its grip. She was much younger than he but that made no matter. How clearly She was a perfect fit! Never had he felt such a powerful urge to kiss someone. It was the natural thing to do. She was with an older couple who obviously seemed her parents. How could he get passed them?
Inwardly Sidney begged the store clerk to take her time, the longer to gaze upon She and explore this feeling invading his soul. He would just go up to her and longingly kiss and She would understand why. He knew this. So many old wounds would heal in that moment. Unimagined doors would open afterwards. She could carry him down streams to a new and different life. Hell, to actually have a life. Maybe he could do it if her parents weren't standing there. Maybe he could do it if he weren't damaged goods.
The clerk turned to Sidney as the trio walked away forever out of his life. He didn't know why She appeared at that moment in his life. He was dying pretty much as he'd always done. The universe knew of this explosive and life-changing opportunity passing but no mortal being. Sidney could barely feign interest in the framing after having his dead world rocked to its knees. What had just happened? Who had he just lost? This he would ponder until his dying day.
That was in February. By April he still replayed the moment over and over in his mind, imagining what could have been. A deep sorrow anchored him to his couch; listless and lifeless, barely able even to change the remote. A real man would kill himself. How can I keep pretending to have a future? On TV a baseball game started. Another dead man - once President - threw out the first pitch to the sound of thunderous cheers. Dead souls applauding another dead soul in false salvation. Sidney witnessed this through the slits of his eyes.
"Damn," he moped. "He's so much better at being dead than I am."