Stan opened the door and stepped onto the fuzzy mat. He peered into the bathroom mirror – glazed over with wet steam – and grabbed the blue towel which hung on the rod. As he gazed through the mist, the contemplation began.
“Good and bad, I feel the same, grown sure, but what is growth? I fear the doubt, and always wonder if I’m rounding the bend, no matter how I try, can never lap myself, never quite maneuver up so I can talk, see how I’m doing, if only to speak just a few words, I can get a sense of where I’m going, where I’ve been. How do I find out where I’m at on the path? I can’t be objective, my memories aren’t objective. Regardless, my thoughts come from my shortcomings, from doubt, from not being able to dance, from not meeting anyone, from an inability to overcome myself, because my actions are based on the comments of others, their wants become mine, this being a reality where one can’t become immune to ridicule, can’t float above taunts about insecurities, can’t find peace of mind, because if insecurities are what I am, then no matter the growth, this is who I am.”
Stan opened the door and began to walk in the dark, his wily mind unable to stay quiet from the trappings of the day. The playful breeze felt refreshing, and except for the snap, he felt content.
“Been here for 21 years, at least called it home, but what happened, where it all went? Can’t seem to remember was supposed to happen, I have things I’m proud of, the work shed is a good start, been a catalyst, allowed me to be my own boss, I’ve worked hard, haven’t I found a way to make this work, this family, we’ve mended any wounds on any given day.”
Up the street, headlights appeared and the car slowed and pulled over. Mr. and Mrs. Jensen had returned from a trip out of town. Mr. Jensen rolled down the window and stuck his hand out towards Stan’s.
“Hey, how bout that play at the end of the game. That was incredible. I thought they almost had them on that one,” Mr. Jensen said. “Something to say about letting a team come back 20 points to have a shot at the win.”
“At least it was interesting,” Stan said.
“Hi Stan,” said Mrs. Jensen. “Going shopping tomorrow, you going?”
“No, I might rake the leaves though,” Stan said. Hey, have a good night okay.”
As the neighbors pulled into their driveway Stan’s mind began to race, began to look for the apparent ease with which his neighbors had coasted along.
“Just one dream, if I could think of one dream, could I make it come true, I built this house, worked with other people, the cooperation helped fulfill a dream, now who is here, nobody, there all gone, just me left, sure the O’Reilly’s are around the corner, Bob still up on the hill, who else? I talk to no one who lives here, not that I ever did, but you could trust the other guy. Now their kids play, their lawns look alike and I haven’t watched how things have changed. How have things changed?
“Things have changed.”
Stan started to do crossword puzzles, not the ones that could be found in books. He preferred newsprint. The smell gave him an intense rush, so he would take three or four of them home every night.
All around the apartment, stacks of unfinished puzzles would sit, words filled in surrounded by spaces of solid-white colored squares. As Stan raced through the thumb-stained pages, he hoped each day a puzzle would be completed, that all of the squares would be filled with words that corresponded to the clues given to work with. To finish a puzzle might signify a victory of some sort, exactly what he was unsure, but a discernible achievement would be found.
“Some clues are common knowledge, some are more elite. Answers are found in thick books written centuries ago and some are found on television. The four corners are a battle zone, each a strategic quadrant to be figured out, a guise of progress, even if none is being made. The easier clues are placed delicately around those more difficult. If I get these easier ones right, I can’t get all the harder ones still have to decipher, but at least have a letter or two, opposed to blank space staring back at you, taunting in its demeanor.”
Stan went to a basketball game and stood near the sidelines of the home team. No one ever noticed him as he stood; he never got in the way. The noise and vibrations from the cheering crowd made Stan feel good and brought a sense of renewal to his spirit.
“How to lap myself, to take a place ahead of who I am, to strike out ahead of my current position, to forge a path and see what becomes of it, ‘cause if I ran fast could I keep it up, the nature of humanity is to yearn for movement, no matter how roundabout, no matter how time consuming, with movement, progress is measured.”
|August 10, 2013
|changes category and title
|August 10, 2013
|adds category, updates status
|August 10, 2013