Lying on that couch with my leg elevated in a cast, my mind had felt like a dull knife.
Friday afternoon and my ankle had just started working again. Business professionals were just beginning to vacate their desks; people who define themselves on the hours between Friday afternoon and Monday morning. I sauntered to the closest bar I could find.
My beer began to sweat as soon as it hit the table, I drank it quickly. The man at the table next to me was drinking a whiskey on the rocks. He was playing with his daughter; she was drinking an orange juice. Two big open windows let fading sunlight into the dive bar. The smell of beer and spicy mustard was circulated by the cool summer air. 3rd grade level paintings of snakes looked like they were tossed up on the wall. Two bartenders alternated between disdain and cordiality under a sign that read “Snake Pit”. I slithered through another beer. Derek walked in and asked “Where is your whiskey?” Before I had a chance to decline he walked over to the table with two glasses of Jameson and his own perspiring beer.
The darkness that overtook the elongating shadows of the snake pit crept inside my head. I said goodbye to Derek. I stomped back home. I sat on my couch. Through the clustered black holes of my front gate I could hear the rats that infested the bamboo shoots in my neighbors yard. I listened to them as they climbed and made the leaves rub against each other. My mind tumbled in a wave of breaking anticipation. I undulated between contentment and grief.
For some context this story is about an injury that I sustained recently. It forced me to go on leave from work for a few weeks. It left me with a decision when to go back. I also had a prompt for my writing class that was to write a story about a character going somewhere and coming back.
His alarm had been yelling at him since 5:30am and still he refused to awaken. Even when he sleeps with the purpose of waking up early, he ends up rushing to work with a half a cup of coffee spilling as he rushes down the steps of his apartment building. The fresh Peonies that sit out on the dining room table are pink, white and purple. They shine in the morning light that comes through the vertical blinds. He stood there winding up his designer tie. The stress of his morning is exacerbated by the time crunch. But the succulence of the flowers doesn’t go unnoticed. He paused to admire their color and smell them. The scent of them still occupying his nostrils as he bolts out of the door.
There was a moment in the day, amidst the whirlwind of printer paper and suits. A moment where he sat staring straight ahead, as if he was looking off into the distance even though there was no expanse in front of him. He referred back to the morning when he was admiring the flowers. His heart settled and his mind slowed its pace to a saunter.
The flowers were the first thing he looked for as he arrived home from work.
Anybody can be gracious in the presence of success. It is the struggle that defines you. The best work comes through adversity. Humans who have made something out of nothing create something truly beautiful. Humanity with their class society. “All men are created equal” seems to be past its time. All men are created. All men possess ability to make something of himself. All men have different starting lines. Someone who comes from a negative situation into a positive one is always good. If you were born into a positive environment it is vital to maintain that positivity throughout life. There is no reason to go from positive to negative. It makes no sense. Everyone has their respective struggle. Some start off worse than others. Admittedly I was born into a very positive situation and I am entirely thankful to my parents for that. I saw myself trending negatively for a few years after high school but I have seen the err in my ways. I try to always get better now. It doesn’t matter in what aspect of life it is. Any forward progress is good progress. I am looking to maintain and build off of the positive foundations given to me bye my mother and father. I strive to find conviction in my work for the simple reason that I want it to be good. Basic conversations about mediocre subjects never interested me. I am always forced into them. They seem to be a part of everyday life. Small talk that gets us through the day. We remain comfortable not talking our emotions or deeper feels than, What did you do today? How was work? I don’t care, chances are it was the same as yesterday. I want to know what your dreams are? What is your motivation to be the best person you possibly can? Are you complacent with the current state of things? Rhythm and routine seem to be the lord of masses without so much as a quiver in the thought process. That is just the way things are for people. We should be dynamic in our approach to life. Work and routine doesn’t have to be the centerpiece. Work should be a means to an end. A contingency plan to our dreams. A supplement to hobbies and creative expressions that every human must come to desire. After a certain age humans must begin to create. Add to a world full of art and colorful expression as opposed to spending money to destroy the world around us.