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Rated: E · Prose · Other · #2239541
A prose poem, I guess. It's very late.
         He is woken by cloudy light passing through the smudged window. For a moment, he does not accept that he has woken, and lies still and lame as if asleep. His throat is parched dry. The eventual rising comes in stages, first only the eyelids, then the shoulders against the pillow; then sitting, then the legs slid to the side; then standing, and the moment it takes for the world to stop spinning. He yawns.

         Three steps across to the bathroom, where the water will chill to the bone or scald the flesh, or alternate from the one to the other in fits and starts. Time lies frozen in the spurts of icy cold, while thoughts run as if set alight. Besides the water clattering to the shower floor, silence. When he steps back out from the water to the air, a lifetime has passed through his mind, and yet the clock has noticed only a few minutes of it.

         Which of the three meals available shall be for breakfast? None, as sudden remembering of tasks undone distracts before the kitchen. A list is needed; no list exists. He wishes he could be frantic - that, at least, would feel reasonable. But he has only the energy to be mildly frustrated. The pile of unruly folded pages on the table: which of those has been dealt with? which remains to deal, and from which deck shall it be dealt? The 52 shall need to fill one thousand slots, a task which must be done now at every moment, even the moment after it’s been finished. The pages slide across one another like waves on the ocean, gentle in their ferocity. He regards them passively, quietly indifferent, which is safest. So many tasks to collect so many pennies, tasks built on the backs of pieces of eight, and no certain recollection of where the pieces were left, or even if there were in fact eight. Or twenty, speckled with blood.

         Shuffling feet, the day goes on. Find the door, fix the door, close the door behind. Next. Ways through to a place that offers not enough. A million steps for a thousand hours, all in a day, not enough. Oh well.

         Things pass by the window. Brightly colored, flashing. They might be birds. He smiles, thinking of the birds they might be. Jays. Robins. Songbirds with sweet and piercing voice. His back is to the window. More pass. Or perhaps they don’t, he can’t be sure. Many things pass, and many don’t. The spaces between his fingers are too wide to know which is which.

         There is some solace towards the end. A warm tea, a fine book. A meal that’s ill to the body but pleasant for the soul, at least something pleasant somehow, and what has the body done anyway except complain. He smiles as he reads, enjoys as he eats, savors as he sips.

         And then to bed, again. Flat-backed in the dark. In truth, there’s a moment when he thinks he might just find a tear on his cheek, but in fact his finger finds nothing. Oh well. Will this place be here tomorrow? He knows not. Will the things he has done be doable tomorrow? He knows not. Will he have tea and book and meal tomorrow? Who knows. What good are these questions, which someone inside insists on asking every chance. There could be nothing tomorrow, or everything, and which even is worse?

         Sleep will come, when enough emptiness has passed. Tomorrow offers the same, and tomorrow, and tomorrow. His eyes shut; he will pretend, insist, that he is sleeping.
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