25 02 2006

Lines and Streets

The steam rose above the unlit streets, further shrouding the man. It’s hard to say he was a man; his figure was lean, his smile childlike, his face still lacking the hardened appearance of old age. His place was clearly not with the children, however. He continued to stumble through town, imagining what he might soon become. His intuition threw his body one way while his mind dragged him to other places. It was late, the thick buildings seemed to melt above his head.
“Strange,” he spoke aloud to himself as he often did, “I have not yet found neither the motive nor the means to the success I so desperately crave”. Cutting off his stroll through the city, his cell phone rang. “Yes. Home soon. Yes, I understand. Trouble, yes. Be safe, yes. Thanks, I’m sorry. Yes, I’m sorry.”

Finding an empty curb, the young man carefully laid his blazer on the ground to lay on. Looking for those stars bright enough to pierce the city’s glazed sky, he glanced upwards. “There is so much above my head.” He had schoolwork to do. Things to do. He knew this. Friends to tend to, family to respect, and superiors to manipulate. Life was going on. He just didn’t understand why.

“I figure, I’ll lean on that infinite crutch and tell myself that everyone is just as lost as I am”, he continued. “I’m exhausted. I wonder what it would take for this world, this ditch of a city, my prison to dissolve.” Recognizing what he had just said, he became sick with himself. Almost at a whisper, “When will I be able to simply ‘allow myself no mock defense’. When will I pledge no more intellectual crutches?” Closing his eyes, sipping the soup he forgot he had been carrying, he began to sob. He knew that the books, the lyrics, the screenplays, the quotes, the scripts, and the things he knew were all nothing. Nothing. “Nothing.”

Throwing away the half-eaten cold soup, he stared at his shoes. “How long have I walked with my shoelaces untied?” He knew, he would soon return to his bedroom and life would take only a brief moment to regain its composure from his absence. Everyone believed he was smart; however, unbeknownst to the world, he carried only the facade. Appearance is everything in this world. “It has to be, right?” In his slacks and wrinkle-free polo shirt, he felt as professional as anyone. But his thoughts knew better than his feelings.

He drew a long yawn. The night was waning. There were still many things to do. He still did not know why. It did not matter to him anymore. It’s not meant to be fun. “I’ll break down and refine, be as efficient as anyone. It doesn’t matter anymore. There are still many things to do.” Walking back, he gave no thought to his future. He did not think about his friends finding out his mediocrity. He did not think about the sinking feeling he would get after finishing his work. He thought only about that which made him content, the brightest of the stars he could see that night. And it made him happy.



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