Saturday, 23 June 2007
Time becomes a bored lover
He lay on the couch looking up at the ceiling, his eyes lazed over the mottled shapes created by tainted magnolia long overdue a repaint. He tried to think of something to do, something worth doing but nothing came to him. He wasnt exactly bored, he just felt maybe he should be doing something. He continued to look at the ceiling and wait.
He figured it had been now maybe 30 minutes since he took position on the couch, he moved his head up and to the right, he could just make out the small clock on the mantlepiece.
He was right, it had been about 30 minutes. As his eyes moved back to find the shape on the ceiling, the one he had felt looked a little like a small bird or a penguin, he caught the reflection of the couch in the dark green hue of the switched off television set. He swung his glance back to it and tried to see himself, it appeared that he could only see the couch. He gave the clock one last glance,
Then went back to looking at the ceiling. It seemed to him now it was probably more like a horse than a bird. He studied it a while longer then felt a pang, guilt gurgled into his middle chest as he remembered he probably ought to be doing something constructive but he could think of nothing he wanted to do. His eyes flashed to the clock,
He sighed deeply, as his body worked to eject the sense of guilt. He felt a little more peaceful but noticed his heart had sped up. He breathed to try to calm it. He thought about work,
then his wife,
then his life as a whole,
and then his future.
He looked again at the clock,
He didnt feel so good. He tried to think of something to do. He looked back at the ceiling.
Maybe there is something wrong with me - he thought and immediately began to compare himself with other men he knew. He could think of no one who ever mentioned feeling they didnt know what to do with themselves. Everyone seemed to be busy doing something. Maybe they were lying, he thought, or pretending. He wasnt sure. Pretty soon his mind had moved on to other unrelated topics, it snapped back again when he felt himself look again at the clock in reflex,
He sighed once more, and went back to looking at the ceiling.
At 12:25 he looked again at the clock and realised he could not recall what he had been thinking about since the last time he looked at it. He found this interesting. How did memories work? he wondered, how could I be thinking stuff without even knowing I was thinking it? He felt a little jump of excitement in his chest. He thought about cigarettes and decided it was time to have one. He looked at the clock,
Maybe a little early in the day but he needed a lift. Maybe a smoke would help him think of something he could be doing. He didnt feel so good.
He sat out on the porch, she didnt like him smoking inside. Just as he lit up he saw the neighbour walking round the front of the house. She was coming to collect her post from the mailbox that was there. Their eyes met at the same time, she stopped walking for the briefest moment, he stopped too. In that moment they both knew that the other wished they had timed it better so as to avoid meeting. It wasnt that they didnt like each other, it was just that they had nothing to say. The next few moments were uncomfortable for them both, the impending moment when they had to speak was imminent. She reached the mailbox as he dragged a little nervously on the cigarette.
'Good morning' he said
'Good morning' she replied
He had hoped she would say something more, but it was obvious she didnt plan to.
She waited for him to speak, she felt it was impolite for a woman to lead with the conversation.
At that moment the kitten came out from under his porch chair, he rushed the next line slightly in the excitement of having something to comment on,
'Be careful he doesnt nip your feet' he said and immediately felt a mild flush of rouge blemish his cheeks, he felt his comment was somehow stupid. He felt socially inept and this troubled him. He could think of nothing more to say. He wanted her to go away.
She picked up the kitten, she didnt say anything, she no longer felt she had to.
She stroked the kitten a few times then put it down, smiled at him and then returned back round the side of the house.
He sighed, glad it was over. The kitten played with some ants that were walking from the porch steps to the side of the house. He thought how much easier things would be if people didnt have to speak. The kitten seemed content, recieved attention and coo's. He tried to think how he might learn to be more like a kitten.
He dubbed out the cigarette and stepped back inside. He still didnt feel so good and the day was already getting on top of him. He lay down on the couch, looked up at the ceiling, remembered he hadnt checked the time,
He shuffled a little to try to find the comfortable position he had been in before. He looked back to the ceiling and sighed. It seemed to him it was in fact more like a bird than a horse after all, but not a penguin, maybe something else.