Somehow it didn’t feel like Christmas? He sat by himself in the recliner staring forth at the warm glow that the multi-colored filaments cast from their spiral wrap about the figment of the imagination called a tree. The old familiar prints lay silent and immobile upon the wall ahead in the dimness. The inside of each of their frameworks suggesting something familiar and recognizable. A cast of unrevealed characters resting below them on the deep shelf just below where a forest of pictures and artifacts played hide and seek with the eye. He nodded to himself ensconced in the hum from the two decade old refrigerator working hard in the apartment’s small kitchen. The silence recused further by the infernal pedantic precision of the old pendulum swinging wall clock. A small knock from the larger presence of the two and then the timepiece had won the battle and he could only hear it and himself. What was there to worry about? Though it was hard to conceive of it his child had outlasted many an adult? Another distant family member had just bit the dust the week before. And he was a decade and a half younger! Health in its most relative of forms was his curse. Sure there were plenty of small annoying conditions pasted upon his physical being like a collage. But their sum total was still inconsequential. In any case the prospect of his own demise was not what concerned him. The immersion into a growing abyss of loneliness did.
It appeared that while he might have broken a heart or two along the way he had more generally disappoint many more. So much so that his mailbox had dwindled down to an occasional recipient of holiday cheering. His lack of prosperity certainly not inspiring much interest in the female of the species. His few male friends having departed long ago into marriages, children and their own heart attacks. Not many cared to recall his name these days even with the prodding of the holiday season in full swing. So many dim faces bubbled up into his consciousness these days that bid him recall their names. One mystery mentally solved dragging up another visage along with a brief silent scenario of their association long past. The chimes out of sight to the left sounding a ringing three in their singular carillon toppling this interlocking lacy pyramid back into his dense skull. The resultant impotence of absolute silence once again stirred by the pendulum’s measured click. The muffled hum of occasional distant traffic far outside rising for a moment and then driving off leaving him to the empty amphitheater of his thoughts. Aside from the colorful light displays one might have thought it as being as dully resplendent as any other night. His head now self-consciously scanning the ribbon of the horizon outside that his reclining posture on the chair allowed. Nothing but the same old pinpricks of far off twinkling man made light.
The child within him opening his heart to detect what unfathomable presences might be in near proximity beyond the scattered prospects that his eyes registered in surround. Nothing? The sketchy events of the day prior being the only in resolve of his internal visual screen. The failing light of the Winter Sun approaching it apses as he walked in the cold air upon the sidewalk down the seemingly inexhaustible row of mid century ranch houses. One out of three attempting some acknowledgement of the season upon the front lawn or the front window. The whoosh of heat pouring forth suddenly like the spillway of a miniature Grand Coulee dam. There was so much to distract one when the physical body had been stirred from sleep! Unconsciously his fist closed and the tightness that its internal tendons woke him to the fact of their equally dismaying presence. The fine shadows of striations upon his aging skin on the back of the hand and wrist only softening but not fully going away. It was curious but he didn’t feel that old? His gait though not a match for those youngsters of barely twenty still maintaining its own internal peppy clockwork precision. Surely whatever fate was waiting for him as that right leaning bookend shoring up the continuing volumes of daily minutia that made up existence had not come to an end. One might be signaled at least in some prophetic Hollywood fashion by glimpses of a glowing or a holiday sprite if it was?
One again the tiny cat’s claw of his conscious mind scratched lazily at the question of the purpose of his own personal experience of existence. As a recent infant brought to some degree of sentience he had rued the passing of his two progenitor’s one day thinking that he must surely pass on before them. What did he know of such things then beyond a vague broadcast notion of instantaneous cartoon finality? Life seemed an impossible circumstance without them? Now sitting on the other side of the mountain he considered that the crowds of humanity that had intervened along his way had only caused him to be glad that the bulk of them had tread off to their own sense of mortal fate and not dragged him along with them. He bore no grudges that came quickly to mind. The long absence from such daily felicities had softened whatever past frictions that might at a former time been naggingly apparent. Peace on earth and good will to all men! His own unspoken suddenly chimed. The resultant silence that this comment expecting to summon within his thoughts instantly shattered by the external growl on an anonymous V8 growling noisily and grumbling loudly off into the hush of night. His eyes raised them self up to the ceiling but with no apparent desire to signify any evidence of broken respite. The world had so long ago descended into an annoying place that he rarely had to e energy to pay it too much mind. All his own accomplishments along the way having reciprocally been simply as trivial to the outside world’s regard as this unexpected distraction. A pop of a bubble recklessly loosed in a tub of warm soapy water.
Somewhere he fathomed there surely was another that was calling his presence to them? Maybe more than one? The habit of a long irrepressible pipe dream stating that for everyone there would one day be someone. The many potentially possible ‘someone’s’ of his long past by this point safely taking on a cinematic dimension that was indeed safer than the human sort. All plots being theoretically a sequel to the initial ones they served the fancies that would suit the audience as part of the bargain of a continued interest in the next one. What did his ancestors do before such things existed? Count the wizened skulls of long past ancestors tossed about in shadowed corners by a fire lit smokey cave? Such musings leading one back to the static credos of Platonic gospel that stated one could never break their own chains to see more than these shadows. What then was human existence but a play of passing light and shadow upon an uneasy screen? That imitation tree festooned by the many aged family artifacts pretending to recall past joviality a dismal failure. What could be recovered from the ubiquity of the present that could be of utility to one’s unmet desires? You could after all be asleep in so many ways only to wake up to late to the glaring fact of it! the problem was that how could one tell? His head turning slightly as another growling engine just outside again making its escape into the night. The last of the Christmas crowd in his building was making its final farewells and speeding off back to their own abodes.
Another low deep throated startling rumble suddenly deposing this notion. No evidence of earthquake or explosion rocking his habitation bringing him to the conclusion that another plane load of late arrivals was ascending to destinations unknown. What then of him. He was his own Plymouth rock still awaiting a Pilgrim. Some ceremonious delegation long expected upon his shore but found to be running a bit later than he could ever have conceived? The need for positives rattling off such sentiments rather than accept a more lagging conclusion. He felt his neck crackling slightly as he shifted about in his chair. The weariness of the hour was placing its claim upon him. That was the wonder of this thing called consciousness? One never knew if they were the dream or the dreamer? An idle thought indecipherable from one more long-winded supposing gravitas. Which was the more potent version suggesting the most accurate view of things? The body after all had the last word both by its infernal animal impatience and its eventual proclivity to final decline and unavoidable termination. A tough act to attempt to follow with one’s storehouse of accumulated disappointments and exasperation’s. The tree still sat there with its colorful display of pin points setting their glow upon the old familiar shapes in picture frames suggesting old familiar faces upon the wall. The artifacts below them unmoved by the transitory nature of thought in its affinity with a passing thunderstorm. Another holiday would pass and lead of the continued banality of the necessity of everyday concerns mapped out over another coming year. Fate in the end having the say as to when this repeating cycle would come to its ultimate conclusion. Something that the man was already familiar with and in a similar manner continue to come to know. It would be a touch act to follow.