The dullness in the left section of his thorax was slowly subsiding. It had manifested itself suddenly as he had shifted about beneath the covers in the old decor of the apartment’s solitary master bedroom. The bulk of his aging frame now on its side with a hand sticking out in the cold like an exposed turkey leg. The digital display on the clock radio glared back at the surrounding darkness. All that he could glean from the narcotic prose left from this last bout with fitful slumber was that his character was derived from strong European peasant stock. What that had to do with the other remnant that his conscious mind could illuminate was that there must be a reason that he had preferred to quietly descend to the basement steps down to that dank spare room set up with furniture even more out of date than that of the gaudy era that predominated above. He caught the notion that he still had a living relative inhabiting above. But he couldn’t be sure as he still seemed to have one foot in his dream as he made for a second shifting of his bulk one hundred and eighty degrees the other way back under the warm safety of the covers. The sound of mechanically driven air coursing non-stop from the vent above the door impotently suggesting the presence of heat. The last of the fading visions upon that fuzzy panorama of his mind being that the door was locked to the next subterranean chamber. A fact that seemed pertinent as there seemed to be a chorus of distant voices threatening to disclose him from just beyond.
The bag of old organs within his rib cage had normalized and the pain had subsided into the excuse of passing indigestion over that of an impending heart attack from the bachelor combination of food items that had served as sustenance the previous day. From where he was figuratively sitting now in the prone position Christmas was only three days hence. Three days in which another empty space of waking hours would weight heavily upon him and leave him to ponder as on every holiday what served in his own case as the joyous memories of the past. That time when there were such things as Christmas dinners of roast turkey and bread stuffing with butter and brown sugar ridden candy apple yams and cranberry sauce served magically by other loving hands. Something that had died out over the last decade as his family died out and his friends all lost touch. The stillness of the room caught his attention as the only sound was from the pressure of his tinnitus. The heater having subsided as he was busily sampling his muse. Much like in childhood he felt as if he was waiting for the event to arrive over the intervening days and hours so that he could actively do something about it. Much like some ancient navigator of the past rounding a reef lost somewhere on the other side of the planet he was anxious to return to the deeper waters of his own present endless ocean of misspent time. The pit of his stomach seemed reluctant to forage forth from this last impression of the holiday dinner steaming before his mind’s eye on the imaginary table.
Wearily he dragged himself up to the dark tiled closet sized bathroom to hover above the porcelain throne and milk his reluctant bladder of its nightly pressure. How like sex for old people this all too frequent ritual had become. It was still hard for him to consider himself as old despite the fact of a burgeoning hernia that displaced his lower torso and the rapidly fading focus of one of his eyes. Other aches and pains aside, he still felt himself reasonably mobile as the chronic lower back pains still responded favorably to just sitting up straight and not slouching. Some day he would get around to those daily sit-ups! In the meantime he dried himself off with a scrap of tissue and flushed it down running the water briefly over his hands to purify them so as not to spread his germs. An electric blue pinpoint blinking in the distance catching his eye as he turned into his lounge to the chair before the picture window. The happenstance of another soul caught lonely before the ignominy of lawless transgression. This sterile emotionless era insuring that no one would be let off with a warning in light of the coming holiday and its spirit of cheering on the finer sentiments of the season. The motion of worship being a completely secular affair. The old recliner creaked carefully as he settled into it so as not to provide that same degree of unwary strain of his misapplied weight that had broken the other one which he had discarded the year before. It didn’t seem that he was fat for his age? Certainly not the muffin top ridden aging male of the sort whose excess flesh was draped over bar stools skidding about the dimness of the establishment down the street. His age class were by now slowed down versions of perpetually persistent thinkers who still could conceive of themselves caught up in the mental hangover of youth. The flashing light had gone away leaving the space just another repetitive portion of the empty portrait of street lamp lit night.
He creaked back slowly into the chair;s furthest setting his head tilted in a manner to catch sight of the static play of light and shadow on the ceiling. The thoughts of that empty holiday’s necessary scheduling coming back into his mind’s eye focus. Late morning on Christmas Day would be brunch with an equally dispossessed old crony for an hour or two. The early morning would be the best time to conjure the elements of the day into a belly filling feast so it would be warming in the oven by the time he returned. This year he would bake a bird! He had avoided the task of cooking for the holiday right up to those few years just before the sufferance of a general decline in holiday spirit that his father’s August passing earlier that year had wrought. The notion of a full spread of cooking a complete turkey and the accompanying items seemed a bit Baroque but could be justified in the old tradition of a number of subsequent days of leftovers. He could palpably feel his hands chopping slippery cold giblets in preparation for immersion of the mush of egg and bread with onion and celery in the family artifact of a big red nineteen-fifties colored glass mixing bowl. The sensation of smells along with tastes like face cards interleaved amidst the different suits in dealing a next hand of poker. Perhaps a whole turkey was a bit too ambitious for service to a solitary diner? But then the customary ritual would be truncated in a manner that would sully the collective experience of the final sense of enjoyment? The turkey was after all the key element! And of course the compliment of the cranberry sauce the can;s of which he couldn’t allow himself to forget. Had some famous nineteenth century author updated his tale of pathetic holiday leanings this scenario might have given some special status as fit inspiration. It was a feat in anticipation of reviving something long lost and irretrievable. But perhaps, he thought the completion of another form of rite of passage as well. The solitary adventurer within him would not at this last moment shy away from another lonely reef far away from anything currently familiar.
The only concern that haunted him was that in this commercially miserly minded era would a turkey be available at this late date? The notion of having to order anything considered out of season by marketing standards a potential monkey wrench in his plans. What if there were no whole turkeys to be had? Then what? The notion crippled the reciprocating recollection cycling in his mind. Was this some unreasonable folly to considered in speculating so demonstrably upon planning a reunion of sorts with his own former era of past existence? His mouth seemed a bit wetter with all these thoughts. There was something tribal about all this almost to the point of a superstition. A feast obviously not only for himself. But as a vehicle to summon long bygone souls from an errant sense of better time past. Would those old scents and flavors however imperfectly reborn send him into a momentary ecstatic state of former homecoming? It was easy to be cynical and toss the whole thing off as some whim of unimportant nonsense. A capricious folly that would at best only yield the benefit of work for otherwise idle hands. Something that several alcoholic drinks worth of self-indulgence might just as easily functionally accomplish. The meal might fill his belly but would it serve to reestablish that lasting gap in his soul? Could he be sure that he would discover an even greater emptiness before a dining table too large overfilled with food that he could not possibly consume in that sitting. It growing equally cold in his stomach as the rest of it waited for guests that could no longer arrive? The angst of those other occasions where a party was expected but no one showed up. That sense of resentful bitterness deeply felt in the pit of his stomach spoiling everything. Would this demonstrative fantasy be enough to simply close one’s eyes and deny the truth of the existential misery of aged solitude. A passing train whistle sang out its lonely wail distracting him. Might it have been some mechanical buoy left by unseen forces to warn him off from this unexpected shoal of doubt. The other factor governing his madness now clearly upon his mind like the settling of a white linen table cloth frozen frame by frame descending airily from heaven. At this point given the situation he had absolutely nothing left to lose.