Saturday, October 08, 2005

As if death were a daily routine

Samuel loosened his tie, squinting up at the sun. His beige suit looked dingy in this sunlight, he could see grime at the cuffs. Should take it to the cleaners, if there's time. Tomorrow.

He looked at his watch. Half an hour before the meeting. He shouldn't be out here, should be going through his notes, but the office was so cold today. Sun warm on his cheek. Samuel turned his face up, stopped on the sidewalk, a woman grunted almost running into him, bent her steps around him, the other people on the street following her, flowing around Samuel.

I am a rock in the stream, thought Samuel, his face to the sun.

Angela wasn't happy with him this morning, he was slower than usual, holding her up, holding the kids up. They should have made it to school okay, though. She kept bumping into him in the kitchen, You still working on that coffee? Bumping, then moving around him, it was easy enough to adjust.

A lot of people out on the street at this time of day, thought Samuel. Lunchtime, why don't I ever come out for lunch?

He liked the feeling of hundreds of people moving around him, shoulders brushing against his, voices, thoughts crowding into him. He could smell hairspray, and cheap cologne, and bad breath, even that was something, Samuel breathed it all in.

I never liked crowds before, thought Samuel.

Samuel drew in another breath, and it stopped. He let go and tried again. It was caught in his chest. Caught there, hung up, and now he couldn't let it go.

Already, thought Samuel.

He looked at his watch. Ten minutes to the meeting. They would have to start without him. Just as well, he never did look over his notes. He wondered where Angela was, this time of day. Did she go out for lunch? He thought maybe she did. The kids, his girls, would be in the cafeteria, green trays, fish in a square, peas or lima beans. He could hear kid voices bouncing off the floors, long cafeteria tables. He looked around at the people on the street, then up at the sun. He tried another breath. Nothing.

I wish I'd worn the blue suit, thought Samuel, as his knees gave, bending, falling slow to the sidewalk.
Thanks to Maqroll and Deniz Eskisi


Anonymous said...


Maqroll, Miss Y., Iz, Bobo concur: that be the way of vortex hopping.


Anonymous said...

The Evening Suit

Over the eroded earth
of a cooled landscape
an intrepid walker
whom charity has provided
with an old evening suit
feels death on the way
but not for some time yet,
a thread has pulled loose from the cloth.
Donor of the black garment
the architect will bring
his bridge to completion;
muzzle to earth at his feet
an animal rests
unaware of having been born.

--Jean Follain


Nihilistic said...

I'm sad now...

Daniel Heath said...

q: thou knowest 'tis common. all that lives must die.

h: ay madam it is common.

Caryn said...

I love the image of Samuel, lonely in the crowd, for what could be more lonely than dying when around you, everyone else is living? Yet it's beautiful, like he finally gets something he never did before. I like how he's disconnected from everyone, yet connecting himself in ways he hadn't before--wondering what his loved ones are doing at that very moment, smelling people, etc. Very nice. And, somehow, not as sad as I would have expected, I think because he accepts everything so peacefully and is enlightened at the end. I would like to accept death that way when it comes.

Anonymous said...

Michiko Nogami (1946-1982)

Is she more apparent because she is not
anymore forever? Is her whiteness more white
because she was the color of pale honey?
A smokestack making the sky more visible.
A dead woman filling the whole world. Michiko
said, "The roses you gave me kept me awake
with the sound of their petals falling."

--Jack Gilbert


Chemical Billy said...

Maqroll- I love that I know more than one person who would quote Turkish poetry to me. Aloha to the fam.

Stacy - sorry to bum you out. Not always so depressing around here, I promise.

Anna, monkey 0 - yeah.

The roses you gave me kept me awake with the sound of their petals falling.

Now I'll be kept awake by the thought of the sound of rose petals falling.

azuremonkey said...

Ahh, the life of the hyper-organized.

To-do list:
Pack lunches
Get the kids to school
Prep for a meeting
Suit to cleaners

At least it's the ultimate cross-it-off-your-list item.