Short Story: Solitary Confinement of the Heart

Source. Pexels. Fabian Wiktor, Photographer

by LJ Frank


He stood near the tall, narrow leaded glass window of his office. He moved his eyes to get a better view. The scene below and stretching into the distance appeared ordinary, almost of quotidian artistry and yet disquieting like a film noir. How did he arrive at this moment in time in this place where he stood?  God knows he tried to do his best with the givens of his birth, the places where he grew up, the friends both intimate and fair weather, as well as his enemies which he blocked out of his heart. His arteries were thinning. He resolved within that he did what was of pure intent and reasonable.

To endure for him was to remain positive, optimistic, determined and to imagine other places with other people. He imagined he oversaw his own life. In fact, to imagine was the most beneficial intellectual instrument in the diaphanous and intangible rhythms of his existence.Though he knew it was not always a matter of choice as touted from the invariable mediafied pulpits of society. Cynicism and doubt are hard battles to fight. And he lived within the context of his physical and emotional environs. Whereas the actual barbed wire encampments and walled cells of a culture’s metabolism are the product of cruelty and narcissism that lack imagination and an understanding in educating and embracing the compassionate heart.

He meditated on how many babies, if they knew in advance of what their life would entail, would choose to be a miscarriage or a non-conception?

Yet he acknowledged through experience there existed kindness, nurturing and a compassionate being-ness. He thought if he demonstrated such traits that he would receive them in return. Little did he know, yet occasionally it was true in unanticipated ways. The walls around him, the place he slept and dined and the other place where he worked and the other place where he played at times overlapped – all affected his heart. Solitary confinement is our physical and mental space – woven in part with patches of diverse, ambiguous threads. 

The concept of solitary confinement is without reservation, the penal tomb of the mind. It’s the issue birthed from suspicion, paranoia, primitive passions, and a failure of discernment. There’s a correlation between perceived position in society and growth of a person. He accepted it’s illogic and found quiet walking the sandy though rocky beaches in his heart to breathe in the ocean air and listen to the sea gulls of freedom skimming the ocean’s waves like the schooner he once sailed and served aboard as a first mate.

Still, he questioned. Who are the guards if not us? Who were the unstable people and who were the stable ones if not within all of us? How do we reconcile the ethics of evil and good? What is madness and who defines it and why? Who has the audacity to place themself in the role of judge and jury while others lived in the abject poverty of their soul? His questions were endless. His soul was on a quest. A decision was forthcoming.

He knew his life was not a race but the gift of an inner quiet and sensitive touch. Though one might think one has the answers, there is always something else to learn and it takes but a minute for the mind to explode in a whirlwind of ambiguous themes and meanings.

And so he sat down at his desk, briefly scratched his forehead, and started  writing in a journal while listening to a Bach concerto as his assistant peeked through the open door.

“That person called again…”

“That person?”

“Yeah. Said something about the hour of the day. That it was part of your agreement. Anyways, that person is here waiting in my office to see you.”

“So soon?”

“As you recall you mentioned to me just yesterday…”

“I remember,” looking at his watch and the visible pinprick of blood on his forefinger that still remained after seven days. He then nodded to his assistant to show the person into his office.

The person entered, took a deep breath and spoke, “Worthy of you to recognize me again. Thank you for signing the agreement. The traffic shall we say…is heavy today. Are you ready?”