Seeing the world of a figure who is to be forever stuck between black and white.
|The gentle rattling of cold cereal, the bubbling of a coffee pot, the sloshing of the milk in the bowl. Sounds so common to most that they are but small pieces in the symphony of life. Still, in one house they echoed as some of the only sounds, the only things that were able to break the silence. Everything else was still as stone, constantly holding their breath as if the entire house was terrified.
The only thing in the house that seemed to move was the lone resident, a figure who sat at his kitchen table, spooning small mouthfuls of the cereal in between his teeth. He paused only a few moments at a time to drink from his cup of coffee, the mug a staunch plain white color. It was like much of the house, every room lacking color, nothing but dull hues of gray.
Most residents in such a house would be utterly depressed, would have at least painted the walls or at worst moved to someplace brighter, happier. Still, the master of this house knew that no matter where he went the dull, grayness would follow. Besides, he rather liked the color gray, the simple nature of it. All the other colors… red, green, blue, yellow, brown, they all had their own nature, their own identity. Gray, however, he always thought as the color caught between. It was always used as analogy, the thing that stood between the purest of white and darkest of black. It was perpetually the middle man, the one that connected the two extremes of a spectrum.
These thoughts crossed the man’s mind almost every morning, like phantoms haunting his mind. Gray, perpetually between white and black. That sounded a lot like his job, to always be the one between things as different as night and day. It wasn’t a dream job, but it was his piece of the world and it did have its benefits. It was a job that at times was utterly rewards, and other times it was heartbreaking. A daily rollercoaster as he went about his duties.
In thinking of duties the figure shifted, his attention focusing on the simple clock on the wall. It was getting close to that time, when he would need to head out to the daily grind. Finishing off the last of his cereal and coffee, he put the whole stack of dishes into the sink and the box of cereal back in the cupboard. He stopped to shake it for a moment, noting that on his way home that day he would need to pick up a fresh box.
After poking around the kitchen to check for other things he would need to get from the store, the figure moved into the living room before making an abrupt turn and heading the stairs. His hand gently traced the banister, the wood creaking and moaning as he climbed. He passed by pictures, black and white images of many things that didn’t really seem to be related in anyway.
They were random pictures of different families, at hot vacation spots. Paris, Rome, New York, Tokyo, all the major vacation hot spots of the world and hundreds of others. Each image had different faces, families, friends, old men enjoying retirement and college students running amuck. Each picture was completely different except for one thing, the owner of the house stood in every one. Sometimes he was hidden in the background, appearing to be nothing but a face in the crowd. Other times, he had managed to bring himself fairly close to the front of the shot, posing.
Still, none of the people in the pictures ever actually notice him. They would laugh and go on with their lives, never even seeing the man who had stood with them, beside them, yearning to join in on the fun but knowing that it was impossible. The pictures were the closet thing he would ever have to what they did, all because of his job.
After climbing the stairs and walking a few steps the figure pushed into his bedroom, which colored and decorated in the same manner as the rest of the house. The only thing that brought any color to the room was a computer that sat on a simple desk against a wall of the room. Technology, the one thing that seemed to be able to bring color into his existence, the one thing that seem unaffected by his mere presence.
Finding little harm in checking up on a few things really quick, the figure moved over to his computer, typing a few keys and clicking the mouse a few times before something appeared on the monitor. Even at home his boss bothered him, giving him a list of things that would have to be accomplished during the day, each to be done at an exact time and in an exact manner. He always hated how utterly perfect everything had to be done. He would finish his work none the less, but he hated that everything had such tight restrictions. Still, it was not like he could complain. It was a job, and the only one he could ever really hope to do.
After clicking a few things and hearing his printer start to hum, the figure turned and moved over to his closet. He reached in, not even really paying attention as he picked out one of his outfits. It really didn’t matter. His job had such a stringent dress code that he practically wore the exact same thing every day he went to work.
He changed out of his pajamas in the bathroom, reemerging a few minutes later, brushing out some wrinkles in the deep black fabric before moving back over to his computer. He picked up the pile of printed papers, shifting and tapping them on his desk to get them all lined up before placing them on a clipboard.
The font on the printout was always so tiny, even with his perfect vision it was sometimes hard to read. Still, he understood why the type was so small. Much larger and the amount of paper would skyrocket. Still, 23 pages, it was going to be a long day. Mindlessly, the figure began to flip through the pages, vision scrolling down the list as he tried to pick out anything interesting. There were some, but otherwise it was just another day at work. Just another long day at work.
Glancing at the clock in the entryway, the figure saw he had a few minutes to spare. Gently tossing the clipboard onto a table by the door he moved into his living room, taking a seat on the dark gray couch before gently picking up the TV remote and flipping it on. He danced through the channels for a time before stopping on a news station.
Even as the figure sat, watching the news reporter recite the events of the past, he couldn’t help but notice something out of place. The room seemed to be disturbed, as if there was a presence in it that was so rare, so uncommon, that it just seemed to through the whole spirit of the home out of whack.
The figure looked around for a time, eventually finding the source of the strange disturbance. Gently stepped across his coffee table, slowly but surely, was a spider. From appearance it looked like a daddy long legs, and the figure couldn’t help but lean in and take a closer look. Such long, thin legs to support the round bulb of the spider’s middle.
Still, even as the figure watched he could tell the sheer nature of the home was starting to press itself down on the spider. He was moving slower, eventually coming to a stopped in the center of the table. The spider stayed like that for a long time, and then just seemed to collapse, teetering over before lying out with his legs contracting beneath him.
Sighing, the figure gently picked up the spider, knowing that it was well dead before taking it to a window and gently throwing it out side. He then pushed the window down, glancing at the clock again. He had spent up the few minutes of time he had to spare. If he waited any longer he would get in trouble with his boss. That was a fate far worse then anything he could face going to work.
Thus, after picking up the clip board again the figure moved towards the door, taking a seat in the entry way as he pulled on his shoes, a pair of comfortable sandals. He was going to need to replace them soon to, the straps and soles well worn from use. Still, that was something he could worry about later, after work.
With shoes on and clipboard in hand the figure moved to the other side of the entry way, opening up a closet there and looking inside. There were coats, a few boxes, but the item he needed was in front of all of them, gently resting to one side. He took up the item, his fingers falling into the familiar groves they had worn in the wood, the aged splintered material still strong after all these years of work. It was the tool of his trade, and in all essence a symbol of his duties.
He lifted up one of his hands, gently touching the metal blade that curved out from the top of the wooden handle. The metal gleamed, and the cutting edge was sharp. It was always sharp. He had to keep it sharp, otherwise it would be useless. Still, after examining the blade and deciding that it didn’t need to be touched up he pulled the object out of the closet properly.
Resting the wooden handle on his shoulder, holding it in place with one hand while his other held tightly to the clipboard the figure gently worked open the door, stepping outside as the blade of the reaper flashed one final time before it and its master disappeared out the front door, off to another day of work as the man in the middle, the gray between the black and white. The connection and escort between life and death.