Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Poof



A globe of dew releases from its perch and drops the long inch to the pavement exploding into fifty siblings. The heat of the sun, now slinking over the eastern ridge warms the edge of each droplet, penetrates the core, vaporizes....poof. A life of leisure gone in a wink.

Birds begin the gathering, whistling while they work. Food, fur and stems of goldenrod slip into place as swallows feed their young and fortify the nest. A grackle screams in mock terror as goldfinch chase him from nearly hatched eggs.


The village guardian barks once, twice then yawns loudly and drops her head back onto the dirty, worn pillow. Hungry and bored she only hopes her ruckus has drawn attention and if not, there's work to be done sleeping off her protest.


The whiz of chain turning gears breaks the near silence as finely folded newspaper slams into an aluminum screen door, plops onto a concrete stoop, rips through the wet grass. "Ah crap".

A mysterious car drives across the service stations' alarm cord and stops. The high pitched bell begins its merciless howl, ringing and ringing and ringing and... Reaching across his body, still stupefied within the dream he cracks his hand down atop his alarm clock. Shaking himself to attention he caught his first thought midstream. Today was special enough to rise early he remembered. He'd made plans.



Slipping from under the down comforter he dangled his feet near the floor, gripped the mattress edge and rocked forward, pondering for a moment the most difficult question he'd face all day...."a denim ensemble? or stay in pajamas".

Nothing stood in the way of his choice, no job, no wife, not even family. He'd taken care of that a year ago maneuvering gracefully, manipulating fact until he'd been cast aside and forgotten. "Hmmmm...pajamas it is".


He dropped the long inch to the oak plank flooring and made his way to the kitchen, humming a remembered Irish dirge. It was the only song he could think of at the moment and it seemed "colorful".

One egg, softly boiled and lets see....Dorian Grey..."oops Freudian slip, Earl Gray tea." He laughed aloud at his cleverness. Someone had to and...he looked around the room...yup he was alone.


Timer set, kettle positioned he sat near the window and glazed his sight into the yard behind his two story house. A monarch disrupted his thought, landing on the porch banister well out of the heat of the morning sun.


"I could once hold my hands so still butterflies would land on my fingers and perch for hours" he mused. "I could watch them for..." The teapot howled for attention, shocking him upright he banged his knee on the underside of his
1950's vintage kitchen table.


"Ouch, damn, crap" he spat in exaggerated grief. Whipping the gas jet closed and moving the pot to its caddie he laughed again. "Man if THIS hurt....." A knot formed in his stomach, tightening, twisting. He relished its urgency his brain screaming "HEY stupid... HEY..You in there?", then shook it off preparing his breakfast. "No time for that now, got things to do" he muttered.


Solemnly he cracked his egg, scooped it from its shell and gently laid it into the bottom of a corningware dish. He slit it open, practicing, slowly drawing the spoon from left to right and then leaned back to admire his talent. Rich yellow yolk oozed from inside the white cover, not too much but, well, perfect.


Salt, a little pepper...well what the hell a lot of pepper, pour the cup of tea and he was all set. "Fit for a king." "Breakfast of Champions." "I spent too much time hugging the television" he snorted as he dug into his feast.

Lost in the moment he forgot to blow on his tea as the steam pierced his upper lip, scalding it with the heat of hell. He shrieked and damn near threw his cup, caught himself and carefully set it down. The knot tightened and then subsided.


"Great, I wonder if it'll blister" he moaned as he touched it gingerly with the tip of his tongue. "Hahahaha like it matters." Clever yet again.

Once finished he dabbed his lips carefully and carried the dishes to the sink. "No reason to leave a mess" he thought flipping open the tap and running water over what he couldn't scrape from the bottom of the bowl.

He opened the cabinet to deposit the china when suddenly he noticed, perhaps for the first time the delicate grain of the wooden door. Setting the dishes down, never taking his eyes off the dark brown plywood he reached up and touched it, slowly massaging its grooves and valleys, absorbing its natural perfection. "The little things...that's what I'll miss."

Dazed, tears forming, then rolling down his cheeks he stopped and wept for a few precious minutes. The clock was ticking and this was as good a time as any. The knot doubled its effort, dropping him into a crouch as he shuddered his way through a good cry.


Slowly he rose, blank, wet, spent. His jaw tightened. Resolved he put the dishes away, slammed the cupboard shut and walked to the bathroom to complete the routine.

He perched on the toilet waiting for something to happen. Nothing came of it. "That's ok it's the thought that counts", he grinned. Standing again and rifling through the medicine
cabinet he brought his tools into the light of day; White handcloth, toothbrush and paste, comb, straightrazor and shaving cream.

He deliberately placed them all in proper order on the now open cloth atop his toilet paper caddie as he'd done nearly all his life. There was a method to his madness and he wouldn't be denied...this time.


Carefully avoiding a mirrored glimpse he went through the humdrum of his dailies, brushing his teeth with fervor until his gums bled, then combing his mop in the blind, counting the hairs that had ripped themselves free at last.


He sprayed lather into his palm and looking up, painfully avoiding staring into his soul he applied the goo to his seven a.m. shadow. Checking the razor for sharpness on his thumb, blood massed into a small bubble and he quickly licked it away.

He was ready. He'd been practicing. He placed the edge of the razor at the base of his beard, tilting the blade to just the right angle. Then with some pressure, slowly drew it from left to right. Warm, maroon blood oozed from his throat as he sank to the floor in a heap............

Poof...a life of leisure gone in a wink.

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