Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Old Man

He wakes up at 3 a.m. after having fallen asleep in his easy chair in front of the evening news. He was so soundly asleep that she didn't want to wake him. Last he remembers, he was sitting there, watching the talking heads spin. Now the TV is off and the room is dark--the world outside is quiet. He stands up, stretches, and makes his way to his study, to his humidor.

Outside, on the front steps, he watches the sun rise and wake the whole world, one thing at a time. He smiles, remembering all the times he sat out on steps in the middle of the night, smoking cigarettes, passages of Melville or Joyce swirling around his brain. He has spent most of his life since grad school trying to rest off all that sleep that he missed during it.

He makes a pot of coffee and lingers on the front porch all morning, working towards catching up on all the reading he has been trying to catch up on his entire life. The end is always far enough out of his reach that it remains invisible, and he realizes that maybe it's time to stop making the list, and just ride it out and see what happens... He realizes that'll never happen.

Someday, someone will come to find him, and he will look like a Tibetan monk in a deep, 1,000-year trance, with a half-finished book in his hands.