Selasa, 02 November 2010

Perhaps Today

He cut himself.
It was a total accident. He was picking up pieces of a shattered mirror when a shard ran into his thumb. The glistening crumb freed a fiery drop of blood but the needlepoint of pain thrilled him. He raised the wound to his lips, tasted the salt. This is real. I am real. Today, he thought, perhaps today, they will see me.
That morning, he studied his reflection just before leaving for work. Regular in build, in height, in appearance; he was an extraordinarily ordinary man. His name tag gleamed dully from the lapel of his unremarkable coat; a nondescript garment, grey. He ran his fingers through his hair, slipped on his shoes and slipped out the door.

He was new in town, worked a reliable job as one of many executives in his firm. He always had lunch on the pavement outside the office. A ham sandwich on some days; egg on others, and always a cigarette chaser afterwards; menthol, slims. He enjoyed, with as much enjoyment as could be derived, observing his colleagues at their solitary lunches on the same pavement, one person equidistant from the others. After lunch, he’d return to his terminal and clock out at 5.30 on the dot.
The elevator chimed their arrival on the ground floor and the coloured notes followed him down the corridor, his heels clicking a percussive accompaniment on the floor. The guard was at his usual spot, the day’s news in his lap, coffee steaming serenely by his side. He noticed with some pleasure the guard’s familiar haircut, his unchanging scowl. With one hand on the door, he turned to the guard with a smile that died before reaching his lips, a wave goodbye that tensed the muscles in his arm but no more that that. The almost-greeting passed effortlessly unnoticed and the guard flipped the news over to study yesterday’s sport scores.
He pushed open the double doors and as always, melded instantaneously into the mass, a drop of water returned to the ocean. Tomorrow, he thought, perhaps tomorrow, I will be seen.

By jumppuppyjump, on September 12th, 2010
This posting is published in Ubud Writers and Readers Festival 2010

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