In an effort to inject variety into this blog as well as use it for my own personal agenda to keep myself writing, from this point until another point down the road when I change my mind, all Thursday posts will be written in the third person. I will be writing what I did or am thinking as an omniscient narrator, or I will write a piece of very short fiction that conveys the message I wanted to address. Today, the innagural third person post is a work of fiction. Enjoy:
Alone is never something he wanted to be. Still, when these moments came around (and they did not come often), he enjoyed them.
This took learning. At first, the unfamiliar silence bothered him. Nothing he did to pass the time with was done wholeheartedly, more half-assedly. There was a sort of giving up, a release that needed to take place before such time alone could be made fruitful.
What he had to release was guilt. He felt he shouldn’t enjoy the time without his wife and children. Societal obligation said he should sit, sulking, missing them unless he used the time to do some sort of chore or mindless task, changing light bulbs or taking out garbage. He needed to accept that he didn’t want them gone permanently. The time alone was only temporary and to enjoy it was harmless.
With this hurdle jumped, he tried to decide what to do with his time. What to really do, not what to occupy himself with. The question scared him a little. He was a child being asked what he wanted to be when he grew up. He was a high school student deciding on a college, a college student picking a major and then a man, out in the real world, needing to find a career. Such permanent choices.
To pick something, when he could pick anything, would be to define him. He wasn't looking for an extra definition. He had already deemed himself husband, father, working man. Having to pick something independent of that was intimidating.
So, he sat for some time on the light brown couch, looking straight ahead, as if the first thing he looked at would command his attention and change him forever. The weight of choice was on his shoulders.
He looked at his own lap, the faded, comfortable jeans and then to the couch cushions where he saw the flecks of orange woven almost unnoticeably into its fabric. He then looked across the room at the double-wide chair and remembered shopping for both with his wife. The couch, with its tiny dots of orange, was picked second. His wife had chosen its pattern, relieved that she actually found something to match the big soft chair her husband insisted on getting in orange.
It was his favorite color. Always had been. He couldn’t explain why, it just made him happy in the way that a good dessert did. People always suggested reasons to him, growing up in an orange bricked house, liking Orange Crush, but each of these just made him shrug. He figured that when he heard the right reason, he’d know it. He hadn’t yet.
Regardless of why, orange seemed to be fundamentally him. In school, the others would change their favorite colors based on what the kid they were best friends with that week liked. What a frivolous way to think. He never changed what he called his favorite on a whim. The word favorite, so absolute, so proud, demanded better. He respected such words.
He picked himself up and moved to the chair. Why had he wanted such an awfully wide sitting chair in their front room? To sit, yes, but to sit and read.
His sons would be small enough to sit on either of him on that chair for quite some time. It was wide enough that he and his wife could fit together. Also, when alone, one could lie down across it, head on one armrest, back of your knees on the other. When he was a boy, this is how he used to sit and read. He pictured himself in the evening hours in the old t-shirt and sweatpants a boy calls pajamas when he’s become too old for characters to appear on his sleepwear. But what he pictured in his hand was not a book. At least, not a book someone else had written. It was a beat up spiral notebook. Within its pages were his words.
Before he knew it, he had already dug a few notebooks from the office filing cabinet and was scrawling in one. He knew what he wrote wasn’t much of anything, but it was the feeling of pen to paper and ideas leaking from his brain that he enjoyed. The fact that he was making it happen. Refinery would come down the road.
What seemed like seconds later, a wind came sweeping through the house. His wife was coming in the front door with boys in tow, the silence broken by their footsteps and laughter. He flipped through the notebook, which he was surprised to find himself holding, and saw far more pages filled than he would have guessed. Slapping it closed with a grin, he stood to greet his family.
“Did you miss us?” his wife asked with a smile.
He’d started to overlook the smaller things that he never would have overlooked when he was younger. A sunset whose colors ranged from orange to purple was glanced at on the way in from the car. The call of a bird he didn't recognize didn’t cause him to stop under the tree and get a look at what it was. The beauty of his wife’s eyes was looked past while he waited to get an answer on a mundane question. Suddenly, he noticed such things again.
He found her especially pretty coming in from a cold, windy day, her hair a bit of a mess, her cheeks and nose slightly wind-burned, the moisture of tears making those eyes sparkle. He walked towards her as she set bags down at her feet and removed her coat.
“What did you do while we were go-” a sentence left unfinished as he grab her by the shoulders and kissed her. As he did, one hand slipped up behind her head, the other to her lower back.
The kids had rushed past, each trying to get to the bathroom first. He was able to take his time with this.
When they finally separated, he said, “Yes, I did miss you” as he could hear her catching her breath.
She looked at him, surprised, but excited, “Whatever you did while we were gone, you need to start doing it more often.”
“I agree,” he laughed and took his hands from her to begin helping with the bags.
“Feeling like,” he stopped to find the right word. At this moment, he was between two worlds, with a foot in each. He loved both. “Like myself.”
The old man of the forest
3 days ago