Been a long time since I've written anything really, much less posted here. Such is life when you work, I guess. But, I guess tonight I finally got the necessary wild hare up my ass and decided to write a bit. It's not long, or particularly good, but I wasn't really inspired to write anything, so I just sort of stared off into space until my fingers started hitting keys. Seemed to have worked alright. Anyways, tell me what you think, and I'll try to post more often here lol
In the distance he can hear it— a high, desperate cry. It beckons him.
He wakes up, slowly, the darkness and deep fog of sleep and lethargy lifting slowly from his eyes as he silences his alarm clock. He sits up and rubs at his eyes before feeling someone stirring softly beside him. She's still asleep, he thinks, and pulls the covers up carefully, covering her shoulders. Beneath the long flowing river of scarlet that covers her face, he knows, is his wife. She is gorgeous, a masterpiece no great thinker could ever dream up, no great painter could ever capture perfectly.
He leaves his bed, dressing in only a robe before leaving their room. He has nowhere to be but wherever he likes, no one to. The kitchen is full, and, in minutes, he's made himself a simple breakfast of coffee, eggs, and toast. Taking his plate, he strolls out onto his balcony, leaving his dishes for his maid to clean. From here, his view extends out to the very reaches of the city in the clear morning air. He takes a seat, lights a cigarette from a pack left on the table for him by who-knows, and relaxes.
This is fine, he thinks, a man could certainly enjoy living a life free from worry in total leisure. But somehow, he can still hear it. Again, and again, it screams, calling to him. But for what?
Bolting upright, he swats at his phone, again silencing an alarm. Looking around, he recognizes the pale walls, the old but comfortable couch, and the view of skyscrapers surrounding him from outside the window. He is in the break room at his office building. Just a dream, he thinks, before punching back in for work.
At his desk, he works, relaxed but efficient. Soon, he knows, his bosses will promote him again, sending him ever higher up the corporate ranks, but he doesn't need it. He makes more than enough to make a comfortable living, and needs nothing he can't afford. A part of him wants to keep ascending, but he struggles to see the point. The work is long and mind-numbing, and he simply can't force himself to want more of it than he already gets.
As the day wears on and his pile of work gets ever smaller, he looks with a smile at the framed picture of his family and himself. Taken on vacation in Europe a few years back, he tries to recall more about the trip but it's hazy. He stares at the smiling faces of his wife and children. He already worries he sees them too little, but their time apart only makes their time together that much sweeter. He smiles at the thought and leans back in chair for a moment.
This is fine too, he thinks, a man could grow to love a life of hard work that pays off so well. But there it is again. Like a hand, reaching out and grasping desperately at him. It demands more.
The shock of the shrill alarm sends him tumbling half out of bed. Another dream, he sighs. Looking at the time, he panics and dresses quickly. It was a nice dream, he thinks, but no time for dreams. Thirty minutes before work, and he can't afford to be late. The squeal of car horns and the dull rumbling of traffic outside his window no longer bothered him, but the louder it was, he knew, the longer it would take to get to work.
Twenty five minutes later, and he is on the clock and catching his breath from the rough walk to work. The eight hours of cheap, menial labor, sandwiched between mile and a half long walks isn't anything he looked forward to, but it is just a job. It pays the bills, and that was what mattered for the time being. He isn't planning on being just a cashier for some big, soulless corporation forever, anyways. He would find something he liked better eventually— hopefully something that paid more— and then he would be set. Besides, he started thinking, maybe it's better to just have a job you don't care about when you're young. You could far more easily slack off in a dead-end job than you could in a “career,” anyways.
As he checks people out, he feels his phone vibrate in his pocket. A quick check between customers brings a smile to his face. That cute girl he had met working the graveyards at the gas station a block from his apartment texted him back. Sure lol coffee tmr sounds good :). As another customer pushes a cart of junk his way, he hides his phone, but keeps the grin on his face and the thought of a date in mind as he drifts slowly away, letting his body go on autopilot.
This is fine, too, he thinks, a man could get used to working hard for little reward, hoping good things come his way. Then it calls out to him again, louder this time and getting louder still. He covers his ears and winces in pain, customers looking on in caution and confusion.
Turning off his alarm, he looks at the time. It is noon, and he has overslept again. He sits up in bed and rubs his forehead. He coughs and it echoes off the walls of the bedroom of his tiny apartment. He is alone here.
The kitchen is clean enough to manage a cup of coffee, but the bread has gone stale, and he has put off getting eggs. His stomach grumbles, and so does he. Another dream, he thinks, and scratches his stubble. He checks his pockets and finds a mostly empty pack of cigarettes, stepping outside to enjoy a morning smoke with his coffee. Again, he clothes himself in only a robe. He is unemployed, and has nowhere to be today, no one to see.
Outside, the air is cold, and he wishes he had done laundry already so he'd have another layer to put on. He lights his cigarette and sips at the steaming cup of black coffee, but every drink and every drag reminds him of something. The energy bill is due tomorrow. Rent in a week. Savings are running low. Almost out of food. He sighs and stares out at the frost-covered parking lot for a moment before putting his cigarette out on the bottom of his slipper and flicking it out into the street and going back inside.
He sits at his desk and opens up his laptop. There, he sees it, his goal, his ticket out of poverty, his dream. It's his project, and despite all sense, it's what he has poured day after countless day into. Everything else, any other work cannot catch his interest, but this is the project that keeps him going, keeps him coming back. It is his passion, and despite how nonsensical or financially unsound it may be, it is something he cannot help but pursue. He dreams of it being a wild success, becoming rich off something he loves, but he also dreams of failure, of chasing a delusion into the gutter. It is a chance he is more than willing to take. Stretching and polishing off the day's first cup of coffee, he collects his ideas and gets down to work.
This is good, he thinks. A man can live an easy life, rich and without a care in the world. A man can live, spending most of his life so bored with hard work he can hardly remember the good times he squeezes in. A man can even live doing the bare minimum to get by, just trying to grab at whatever opportunity comes by. But, he thinks, I can only feel alive if I have a dream to chase, bearing whatever suffering may come so I can climb higher and higher towards an ever ascending goal. And, but for the steady tapping of his foot and the work of his hands, there was silence.