Free-Write #5 by Sydney Rodriguez
The rickety, old rocking chair whimpered as it bore the weight of the old man. He breathed a keen exhale as though he had been holding his breath for quite some time. The contents of his coffee mug trembled, drops cascading down the side. The air around him felt dense as if a storm was approaching. Glancing out at the unfurling scenery, he was reminded of his once pristine yard. Prospering red roses once lay perched against a pristine white picket fence, which encompassed the area. He remembered the sensation of the blades of vibrant grass cushioning his bare feet. Now, however, the endeavor of maintaining a yard of that manner seemed impossible to the man. His reminiscing came to an abrupt end as a feeling of incompletion filled his consciousness. The man’s memory was weary with age, he often found himself forgetting simple things like what his intent was upon entering a room. He refused however to acknowledge his fleeting memories, which were slipping like sand between his wrinkled, calloused fingers. Upon sight of his withered, chipped mailbox, he recalled that he had never managed to fetch his daily newspaper. But, the man, lacking in exuberance and purpose, was daunted by the simple task of walking the length of his driveway, bending down to grab the newspaper and returning.
His deserted street had once been filled with houses with bustling new families, and upon thinking this, he was struck with a pang of melancholy, for the camaraderie between those families, formed by both the mutual cognizance of the hardships of parenting as well as the loneliness and confinement that slowly ate away at their ebullience, had given him a sensation of unity, a sensation of purpose. Nowadays his street was lined with decaying homes like his, as if that one street had lost all of its colors, while the rest of the oblivious world continued on their merry way, still with hope and determination. He forced himself to look away, refusing to be reminded of his friends, all relishing in the afterlife, as he was sure of. He had always looked forward to his retirement, quiet, blissful moments of silence with his radiant wife. Yet, with her long gone, he could only think of the years upon years of endless days, with nothing to occupy them. He was disinterested in television, and his eyes could not manage to recognize written words. Even while reading his newspaper, he often times found himself scanning pictures, unable to read their corresponding words. His heart longed for his mobility, and with nothing left to occupy his time he could only reminisce in times when movement seemed effortless, and when it seemed as though the world was at his fingertips. He sat there still, listening to the rustling of nature, searching for the soothing sound of his wife’s voice, which he remembered once entranced their children into a deep slumber. And, in that moment of enrapturing tranquility. The man guiltily pleaded that the weary soul of his could reunite with his wife. He wondered, if, in fact, such thoughts were selfish, as there was no one left to mourn him. For the exception, of course, of his children. Though he wondered even if they would grieve. He wondered if they saw the sadness in his eyes which remained even when they were together, only on certain holidays and his own birthday, where they only managed to treat him like an incapable imbecile.
Judging by the bright blue hue of the sky, the time was fast approaching midday. He had felt as though time had escaped him, he was so enchanted by his thoughts. Such fleeting time, however, was a welcome change, for usually, it seemed as though time was moving with the same viscosity of honey. He was aware of the fact that, following his daily regimen, he had ought to arise from his chair and head inside for the next constituent of his day. However, he was overcome by a sudden lethargy which swept over him like a thick fog. He closed his eyelids, feeling his consciousness slipping away, unaware of whether or not he would awaken. But such thoughts did not faze the sapient man, for he understood that the apogee of his life was long behind him. He also believed, with every weary molecule in which he was composed of, that somewhere out there, his wife was awaiting his arrival.