It seemed to him sitting alone in his chair as the minimal light of the slowly rising gray dawn began to rise. It seemed that a ll the pay dirt had done played out. Days long passed unable to be recollected any further. Just one big blur. A buffer to all those things that meant something but that dared not be remembered lest they remind one that there was really no hopes left for the future after all. Another holiday season. Ten days left ti the twenty-fifth of the month and Christmas. The long pause of the sight of the museum of his family’s ancient artifacts all arranged exhibit style in a clutter about him. The gifts of long ago, some of them. Grown worn int the imagination having faded from the immediacy of want and desire. Who could imagine them now at center stage in a store window or holiday catalogue as being the most special? Too many others had come in the intervening years to take their place. All that was left was the material husk of what had long ago left. That fantasy of the promise of eternal perfection. The cotton grayness had risen now to appreciable luminescence. A milk shake state giving nothing away beyond several shades of an indeterminate lackluster blue. No definition beyond a few casual streaks to distinguish it from an intervening cotton blanket blotting out the universe of stars. The solitary sights allowed being the many dwellings of others locked in the rising metronome of early morning traffic. “Played out.“, his mind recited.
Some trivial diversions tried to cut in. The fact of his being days late on some bill. The requisite changes needing to be made for a job. All incidental crisis of no real consequence to replace that tempo of what had once been the drama of living. Involvement with the difficulties that other lives presented. Unfairly or not. Involvement with the hope of finding that perfect something that an inner lodger far within demanded. But would never spell out. Only hint at. Old roads and highways on the way to nowhere chasing the Sun both early morning and at the frost sign of the Sun’s daily fail. All those first spur of the instant ‘first’s‘ shared with someone else that one barely knew but hope to know more. But through the circumstances of choice and choosing the safe same old on had scrupulously avoided. That magic instate then quickly removed out of reach to form an imaginary mental point of worship to be added to the eternal untarnishable shrine of what ‘could have been’. But wasn’t!
Now of course, equally bereft of what was. And seemed never to change. But one day on the flip of a coin had changed. And now never could be indulged in again. Empty. Nothing left either way. Nothing to look forward to and nothing the way it once was. The forever in-between being his current place of residence. The chair he was sitting at had holes now. Evidence of the last acts of recent years. Of its membership as the prime actor in a final curtain call sealing off that span of time one could delineate as the past. The singling out of that period by the marker of the two deaths that stood out above all the rising number of others that once could mentally celebrate but had grown tired of doing so. Would the ceremonial tree with all the old artifacts of times past be recovered from the darkness of the locker down at the other end of the hall? All those handmade ornaments that presented the same of holiday guessing game. Trying to relate when other hands fashioned them in more hopeful times when hope was something that still sprung eternal. The spot on the small Florentine credenza was still taken up by the same old big gold leaf painted plaster lamp. It’s lampshade oversized yellow and dusty. No place to put it when the switch would have to be made. Taking one old item out of its accustomed place to temporarily replace it with another making this cluttered overburdened space even more so.
Not much to look forward to in the stillness of this ongoing pall that the paucity of the present tense with all its shortfalls and list of limited expectations growing shorter would present. The light above from the day restrained by the pillow gray formed a concentric wave. Like on that a large pebble might make in the idle of a pond but overhead. The universe above had sent its message and it had drifted by unheeded. The snow from the night before had gotten tired of the many roofs and had climbed down to rest upon the myriad of lawns below. Waiting for a hint of midday Sun. Hopefully to appear. Listless and impatient. Hopefully to evaporate away.