Entry Eighty-nine: Adam Mahoney, You Just Won!

[The next many entries are the current story I am working on. This is nineteen of who knows how many will be posted. Enjoy it while it lasts...]

The sun streaked through the blinds in his bedroom and he shielded his eyes from nature’s alarm. He checked the clock on the nightstand and was disappointed it was so early. He lay still a few minutes, getting his bearings and then rolled over to start his day but was immediately stopped by stabs of soreness and stiffness throughout his body. He rolled back to his previous position and waited, hoping his body would be forgiving and give him another chance. After several failed attempts he finally made it to the edge of his bed and slowly unfolded his body to an upright position, not straight and tall but at least to a point of mobility. A long, hot shower drove away a lot of the aches and he was reasonably sure he would survive.

He made coffee and decided to enjoy his breakfast cigarette sitting on the front porch in one of his rocking chairs. It was already warm outside but the idea of fresh air allowed him to overlook the heat and humidity. As he rocked and smoked he surveyed the neighborhood, or at least what he could see from his roost, and the quiet once again alarmed him. All noise was generated by him—the squeak of the rocker, the slight whoosh of the exhale of cigarette smoke. He didn’t realize how he had taken for granted all of the sounds of his street—cars starting, screen doors slamming, pots clanking through open windows on cooler evenings, kids laughing as they played kickball or rode their bikes up and down the street. The thought of the kids instantly sucked a sliver of life out of him, the chasm inside him echoing and hollow already, every new realization making it worse. There would never be any more kids, ever. He had never had any of his own which, for a long time, he had been thankful for since they didn’t have to deal with the divorce. He had always assumed he would meet someone else, fall in love again, remarry and then have some children of his own. Just another thing he had taken for granted, before the note, that now seemed so impossible and long ago. He jumped as the lit end of the cigarette he held in his hand reached the filter and began to burn his fingers. “I can’t be sitting around thinking about all that could have been. That’s a waste of my time.” He spoke aloud again, something he was enjoying more and more. It was a way to break the monotony of the discussions in his head.

He stood up, still sad but needing to do something active to keep the sadness from taking over. Knowing his house was as clean as it had ever been he decided to cut his grass. The yard hadn’t been groomed in two weeks and the grass had grown high and shaggy, spilling over the edges of the driveway and crowding out the pavers leading to the mailbox. There was no sense in the outside of the house being unkempt while the inside was immaculate. He put on his work clothes and then pulled the push mower out of the shed in the back yard. There was plenty of fuel in the gas can so he filled the mower’s tank and rolled it to the front yard. It started after three pulls of the starter rope and he began the mindless task of walking back and forth across his yard, taking satisfaction in how neat the freshly mowed grass appeared under his feet. He had never viewed cutting the yard as anything more than a chore, a necessary task to keep the rest of the neighborhood off his back. Being the only single guy on the street added extra pressure to his life, especially when it came to house and yard maintenance. Now he was alone and cutting the yard for no real reason he could discern other than for something to do. Maybe it was his way of trying to recapture some of the activities and things he had taken for granted, pre-note. Or maybe it was filling a subconscious need he had for normalcy. Whatever the reasons, Adam decided not to entertain them. He took a deep breath, drew in the luscious smell of fresh cut grass and entertained a smile instead.

All words and images ©2006/J. Colle

No comments: