by LJ Frank
Invisible to the eyes. Superficially cloaked by the skin. The mirror betrayed an out of focus reflection. The days merged. Weeks vanished. The tall glassed in grandfather clock in the hall with its mechanical inner workings visible was no longer obvious to my brain when I walked by it. The telephone rang. It was the wrong number. I glanced at the morning paper. Another friend and colleague passed. The obituary column grew in length. The sequence of events seemed to be repeating them self each day. Except for today. It didn’t feel the same. My lips move. I meditate. I practice enunciating the prayer like Hindu primordial sound OM this morning. My lips move again.
Sheets of rain pounding the windows dissolve into a drizzle. The morning chill is filled with a light mist. I open the back door. The coolness feels good. I put on my worn trench coat and hat and walk outside towards the ally to my old manual shift sports car. My lips move. A conversation with myself.
A homely, nosey soul I call my neighbor steps out his back door and looks over at me, “Who are you talking to Dr. James Steele?” The neighbor asks.
“Intelligent conversation I’d think.”
“The usual!” I curtly state. I was quietly recalling memories past and what I said or could have said but didn’t for whatever reason.
“I’ve got some thoughts about the usual,” He said.
“I bet you do.”
He then walked back inside his dwelling.
We were living next to each other for years. Yet I never really knew him and to be honest never wanted to know him deeper than a superficial greeting. Otherwise experience suggested I would be hit with his arithmetic opinions. He was a retired accountant for an engineering firm.
My lips move. I question whether I had asked the wrong person to marry me. She said yes and that same day I accepted a job offer. Should I have reconsidered? You see, the very same evening a woman from my past called and wondered why we hadn’t got married. Little did I know. That day of the marriage there was a distinguished man sitting in one of the pews. I recall he just nodded at me as if he knew something I didn’t. I wonder if there should be a warning label with marriage, work and relationships. Engage in at your own risk. It’s an emotional gamble.
I arrive at my office. My work is just one aspect of me. It’s not the whole, just a compelling part – motion, change, evolution. I sit at my desk listening to my first client. I write down my thoughts. I sip some coffee. I settle into a routine.
As I contemplate the day a man in a charcoal grey suit wearing a facemask enters my office. I don’t recognize him. He approaches, stops several feet away. “May I sit down?” He asks.
I motion to a leather wingback chair.
He removes his face mask as he sits down. His distinguished looks give me an unsettling sensation of familiarity.
“May I ask who you are?”
He nods. “Are you familiar with Henri-Louis Bergson, the French Philosopher?
Bergson observed that, “Life does not proceed by the association and addition of elements, but by dissociation and division.”
“I’m Dr. James Steele. We need to talk.”