Thursday, December 25


I woke up this morning to my phone buzzing across the nightstand. Coping with the decreased brain function and aggravation I answered the phone and tried to sound as normal as possible, only to avoid the embarrassment of being discovered sleeping in until 11am. The tell-tale sign of the adolescent and the unemployed. Myself being the latter.

I try but fail.

It was my neighbor from two doors down. A few days earlier I was recruited to cat duty. Responsibilities include: feeding and scooping up for a cat that refuses to accept the fact that, yes, I can see it hiding behind that ficus and, no, I don't care enough about it to walk the five steps it would take to pet or annoy it. Apparently, my services were no longer needed and I was to relinquish my key, immediately, which meant getting out of bed.

I put enough clothes on to look presentable but remained disheveled enough as to appear unpleasant and inconvenienced. Reluctantly, I made the trek across the walkway above the always eerily desolate courtyard, ceding the key and returning to my apartment to process the nugget that I was found upon consideration to be unworthy of pouring kibble into a bowl every other day for said cat. As the door closed behind me, the contrast from the bright sunlight to my unlit apartment left me momentarily blinded.

You see, as I was starting my daily routine the morning previous to this one, all electrical appliances and lights stopped working the precisely the same time. (Luckily about 5 seconds after the coffee maker finished brewing breakfast). "What an odd coincidence...", I thought to myself, not yet fully aware of the degree of how totally screwed I was.

* * *

My head is throbbing. Apparently, reading by candlelight was a terrible idea. The constant flickering of the flame has somehow been appropriated by the rods and cones in my eyes and the room is bouncing around not unlike an episode of The Price Is Right on an ancient TV set. I think I hear... is that Ben Folds?? It is. But not good. Like if Ben Folds was playing piano sloshed and he's missing a few fingers. Where is that coming from?? Have I eaten today?? I don't think I have. It's hot and cold in here at the same time. Where am I, even? Oh, I'm on the couch. I need to sleep.

* * *

Today the cold is gone. The sun came out. For about an hour. It was the best hour I have spent in this city.

* * * * *

I have become frustrated with my own apathy. I am discontent with my hypocrisy. I am too often the antagonist, never the encourager. I am dissatisfied with silence. I am dissatisfied with noise.

I'm taking a new tack. I'm looking for a new perspective. I'm searching for a new confidence. It's my goal to have no new regrets.

* * * * *

The power is back on. The pizzas unfroze and the milk went bad. The courtyard is still quiet. The city is dark and wet. All pavement and steel and lights. The cars drive around in circles and the towers stand like time. Driving next to the Metro I made eye contact with a woman by the window. I smiled. She smiled back. And waved. Just barely. And I didn't feel so alone anymore.

* * *

The newsman predicts more rain.


Teysha Faith said...

great writing, paul, as always. and you were put in charge of a cat?... ha. im disappointed that you didn't get to spend more time with it. and now i fully understand what you meant by "melted" pizza.

Anonymous said...

PAULLLL! I'm going to hug you.