This is the first time I’ve written anything of substance since 2006. It’s not great, it’s a start. I’ll be adding to it as I write more, and hopefully, get some of my skill back.
Wicker Chair Redux
It was time to see her again.
His hand dragged against the cardboard as he shuffled another package into the back of the short white Civic, this particular game of Tetris becoming tiresome as the day wore on. He wiped a bead of sweat from his brow and took the moment to examine his handiwork. Aside from a tipped box labeled FRAGILE in sloppy sharpie in the back left side floor board, it seemed orderly enough. He was leaving a lot behind; it was necessary. He took a long look at his belongings, leaning one arm against the heated car..
He took a moment, stepped back, closed his eyes, and just shook his head. This had not been a good month. Too many things had been slipping out of his control. If there was one thing that he valued it was the illusion of control over his situation. He had at least been content, at least been in some sort of position of security. Now he was out of the back door of a forced eviction, he had lost his job due to a rather unfortunate shutdown, and he was just another person out of work with very few skills and next to no options. Truly, he was living the American Dream.
Christopher Poulin had spent the better part of the last several years working as a supervisor at a small packaging plant. It wasn’t anything to write home about, but it was comfortable. He had friends, he had benefits, he had a steady income. He had underlings. It was all he could ask for, at least he had thought so back when he originally took the position. Anything to escape humdrum of his custodial duties he had held prior to that. Then it had all come crashing down around him, and he had no contingency plan. So it was time to see her.
It had been so long. Would she know him? How could she? Was she even still there? The last conversation they had engaged in had pointed to the fact that she should be, but that was nearly a decade ago. The doubts and wonders bounced around in his head, the what-ifs outweighing the rational thoughts. It all seemed like such a long-shot, but up to this point, everything had been a long-shot, why not take one more?
She had been a force for good in his life, an escape when there didn’t seem to be one, in those formative years. At times he had felt like a leech, attaching to her for support and draining her of her good will. Despite the repeated protests she had offered, he had always felt this way. That is why he had left, why he had gone away. Not just to begin a life of his own but to allow her to have her own life back. He couldn’t fathom having someone care on that level, and so he had drifted away and focused on what he had hope would have been a career. Like so many others, though, there was no glitz or glory. He was another drone working for the hive, and that no doubt, had changed him.
Something didn’t feel right in that moment, it all felt very surreal. It was a position he had never been in. For all of the hardships he had faced, he had never felt completely void of purpose. Perhaps it was just the anxiety speaking to him, but he felt as if there was nothing to look forward to. That was the reason all of this was happening, or was it? His mind was spinning out of control, out of itself. He opened the back door and reached into the cup holder in the depressed cup holder in center of the seat, extracting a thin prescription bottle of Xanax into his hand and popped one. Just as the doctor had told him, As needed. It was needed. His hand shook slightly as he replaced the cap, put the bottle back and shut the door. How long had that been back there?
He paced around his vehicle, looking back at the cluster of apartments he had called his home. It seemed almost foreign to him now. He wasn’t welcome there, it wasn’t his place. It was time to go. He slammed the trunk shut, taking another long look outward at the people coming and going. He had no idea how long he was watching them, resting himself lazily on the side of that car. Time passed without consequence, and the music flowed through him, acting as a calming agent in his battle to stay intact. Then he found the ground.
He fell backward, unable to catch himself as the ground rushed up to meet him. If it hadn’t of been for the blaring noise in the pair of stock ear buds he wore, he may have seen the person running by at full speed, may have had a moment to collect himself, to avoid that collision. He hadn’t been paying attention though, he was in his own head again. So the wind came up to catch him, and that slow motion collapse took place. He would lie there, sprawled like a turtle on its back, for a moment longer than he should have, no doubt. That bright yellow dot in the sky was staring back at him, unquestioning but ever-present.
He shifted to stand, and felt something rattle in his back pocket. Suddenly that anxious flash of heat pushed through him, knowingly. He hadn’t noticed the music having stopped for that split second, it had just picked right back up, and through the cacophony of synthesized beat it was always difficult to tell if it was a skip or just some artist trying to be clever. He slid the MP3 player into his hand and looked down at the screen. That familiar ink blot pattern of a smashed LCD coming to view. He would press his hand to it, the screen flexing to his touch. He wouldn’t be selling this today.