“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
His thoughts annoyed him. After leaving his apartment in the late evening around ten o’clock, he had no intention of returning. He had to make peace with his own mind. It didn’t help that his neighbors were loudly having sex next door, and that his AC didn’t work.
He didn’t understand why this dissonance was happening. His day was great. He had gotten coffee with Julia, a girl from work whom he fancied, eaten dinner at a new Chinese place, and then gone home in the early evening. For him, realistically, it rarely got better than this.
He couldn’t even remember his own name, because he doubted any thought that even suggested a possible name. Despite this, he eventually came to accept that his name is probably Mark.
Still, his thoughts were running rampant. As he walked down the cobble-paved paths, with tall lights on either side of him and the sun rising behind him, the sounds of a thousand ticking clocks began to reduce him.
He couldn’t believe what he had done. This alienation was one of the worst feelings Mark had ever experienced. It happened at work, yesterday. He had stepped out of line, and argued with the board during a key presentation which laid down plans for next quarter. Mark couldn’t look those men in the face anymore. It physically sickened him.
He made his way to a nearby tree, and vomited on the ground, by the tree’s trunk. His loud gags startled the crows, and in unison they flew up, calling to Mark as they went. As it continued to rain, the vomit was washed away - a remnant of distress, now gone.
He truly felt alone. It wasn’t a choice of his own, but a circumstance, shifted into place by the rubber-gloved hand of life’s unfairness. He believed that he simply could not go on. But, he couldn’t do a single thing about it. If he wanted anything more in this very moment, he could back home and hope his neighbors were still having sex; so he could listen.
He thought of Julia. He wondered how she would see him if she knew what he had done. Mark’s narrow perception simply didn’t let him see it any other way: she would hate him. In her mind, he would be a belligerent saboteur, and nothing more. The spark they had would swiftly be extinguished. Mark was surprised now, as she even bothered to put up with him in the first place.
He turned around, and stared at the sunrise, overwhelmed with disgrace. He found peace for a moment, because the dawn was so beautiful, even through the rain. For that moment, he didn’t feel alone. If the sky was willing to show him its beauty, then at least it didn’t despise him, like he thought everyone else did.
He began walking back, towards the sky of mellow oranges and pinks, and he couldn’t bring himself to look away. Finally, his thoughts were muffled, tuned out by the rhythmic sound of rain and brilliance of the sky.For a while, he remained in that moment, frozen in time. Eventually, he woke up. He had really never left his apartment; his cat rested on his legs. Mark remembered the peace he felt just then, and then went on with his day. He gained respect for his own mind, having once doubted it.
Copyright Avi Glozman, December 2018.