As If The World Were Alive
A Short Story By: Keith Clark
“To all the little things I’ve taken for granted” The alarm clock informed me that 5:30 was here. The mattress supported my body as it rolled over and snooze button embraced index finger. Monday morning. Where had the night gone? It felt like I hadn’t slept a wink and could sleep another thousand years. The bathrobe caressed my shoulders as my feet took me through the bedroom and into the bath. The shower faucet was turned and the water temperature was adjusted. The large square tiles supported my weight as the water began washing my body. What a night! Talk about a rollercoaster ride: the heat of the party; music; Vickie’s warmness next to me as we talked and drank on the veranda. Shampoo and soap soothed and cleansed me. My mind kept grinding. Vickie had grown upset with something I’d said and left the party angry. Maybe she would phone today and apologize. The water ran down my face as a soft towel wrapped itself around my shoulders drying my skin as it slide down my back. The radio blared the forecast and my toothbrush found its way around my gums. “60% chance of rain this morning.” “That’s appropriate,” I muttered, looking in the mirror and pulling down the bags under my eyes. The carpet tickled my feet and carried me through the open closet. Forty suits hung in a row, but the navy blue one caught my eye. “I can’t remember when I wore that one last,” I thought. I reached for it and the silk lining slid down my hand. Shoes were a more difficult choice. Black would work, but I had twenty black dress shoes. One pair stood out however. “They’re wide,” I thought “They’ll fit around my ingrown toenail. Yes quite comfortable.” With tie under collar, and the razor finishing its shave, I was ready for my morning slim fast and a busy day at the office. My busy mind would fit right in there. The garage door opened and the Mustang started on command. I lowered to a sitting position and the patent leather and seat-warmers embraced my behind. The wheels new rubber and Armor-All’ed tires spun down the drive, supporting the sleek white and gray technological extravaganza. It stopped appropriately at the first intersection, then, the road beckoned onward toward the city and the office. “What happened last night?” My co-worker questioned. I was being urged toward my comfortable desk, coffee warming my hands. My mind split. He knew darn well what had happened, he’d been watching the whole thing. Jealous of Vickie, he’d always turned up at parties uninvited. “Nothing happened.” I said assuredly. “Where are the reports I wanted first thing this morning?” The scene on my desk changed as it began to support paper, pens, laptops, and more coffee throughout the morning. My flashing computer screen assured my eyes that the financial future I was striving for wasn’t too far away. “Where are you going for lunch?” It was the healthy looking blond across the hall. I’d always had my eye on her since she began working there three weeks ago and her words were like dew in the desert. “Wherever you are,” I said smoothly. Maybe this would help me forget Vickie for awhile. Our feet carried us to the parking garage and the car locks opened for us. Lunch was served with a flare and the salmon was every bit as exciting to our taste buds as the waiter had promised. My young companion was exciting too. Soon,
however, her peppering questions became very personal. I felt like I was on trial for every woman I had ever offended. A half an hour later I blurted out: “I don’t know why all my relationships fall apart; maybe you could figure that one out.” I had had it with the personal questions. My napkin wiped my mouth and the chair hissed as I got up to use the restroom. I had been blunt alright, I thought, as the water washed my hands. But she had become too personal. Romantic music caught me ear, but the laughter of fellow diners seemed remote as my body sunk into an empty booth. She had left. Crap. I checked my cell phone, no calls from Vickie. My hand signaled the waiter for the check. I left absorbed in my own thoughts. I passed someone homeless as I rounded the corner. Two twelve inch legs and a well used arm were all that protruded from his stubby core. “Spare some change?” he mumbled. My feet took me quickly down the sidewalk and mindlessly toward my car. “There’s going to be a crash man,” my co-worker was so close I could smell his breath. Confused, I entered the lobby where everyone was gathered. The TV informed us that my co-workers predictions were correct. How could this be happening? Everything had looked fine this morning. That night I couldn’t sleep. The pillows and mattress bounced and moved as my body sighed and rolled restlessly. How could things be going downhill so quickly? I must have laid awake for hours because I never heard the alarm clock at 5:30. At 9:00 the phone rang and told me that someone was upset. I’d probably be the first one laid off the project. I started for the garage. I needed a drive. I went to start the car, nothing. I had left the headlights on the night before. Darn. Out the door I went, into the hills beyond the house. I must have walked for hours. The view was soothing, but my mind was shattered. How could this be happening? Why? How? Suddenly my mind went blank, like a light bulb had been turned off. A rock supported my backside as I lowered my body to its hard surface. I couldn’t think any more. A bird flew by singing. The sun warmed me as it glimmered through the aspens. All was still. I didn’t care about anything any more. I thought of an old bible verse my mama use to quote. “Suffer it to be so now,” she’d always say. It seemed too difficult, but now I didn’t care. I didn’t care about anything any more. The ground was supporting the rock that supported my body that supported me and somehow, that was enough.
“Awakening happens subtly among the everyday processes of life. When you find you don’t care any more, the ego is dying, and the real you can resume its natural position”