Tag Archives: Thought

Snap Decision

“I don’t know,” he said with resignation. “It looks like I’ve run out of ideas.”  Ben exhaled his cheap tobacco and flicked the butt into a yard in desperate need of mowing. All goes quiet after 10 o’clock at night, and the only action to be seen was a stray tabby trotting down the sidewalk. With a little bit of attention, I-69 could be heard somewhere off in the distance.  Yellow squares of lamp light hung in a random sequence down the street. When combined with the street light, it looked like indecipherable Morse code. It might as well be the S.O.S. for the time being, as everything seemingly lacked rhyme or reason in the past 48 hours.

This area of town was definitely known for its sloth. There were a fair amount of students from the local uni renting property nearby, and they weren’t diligent with chores. They were stereotypically spoiled Americans. Ben wagered their ancestors would have killed to be in that position in their living years. Since they’re not anymore, he later surmised it didn’t matter. George, Ben’s sounding board for the night, had given up on looking presentable for the neighbors a long time ago. That’s a shame. Exercise is exactly what George needed.

Smoothing his naturally curly hair over for the last five minutes, Ben started to grow impatient with himself. “This was happening now for a reason,” he thought. “The move to Texas definitely sparked this whole chain of events, but why did it have to start with such little time left to take care of anything?” He slapped the palm of his hand on the armrest of the rocking chair and crossed his legs the other way as to not let either of them fall asleep.

“It doesn’t sound pleasant,” his audience finally responded. “Though you usually fix things, and it comes out all right in the end.” The stout nature of the respondent allowed for a couple of rocks before he could start his journey to the refrigerator for a beer. “However, I have never seen you like this before. You really must be scared.”

“Oh, not scared,” he huffed, “just struck dumb.” His pride would never admit the slightest bit of fear. “She claims the child’s mine, but who knows? It could be an attempt to keep me from leaving for Dallas. She could also truly be pregnant, but from another guy. There’s no time for a paternity test. If it exists, or is even mine, she knew that I would be very tempted to stick around to raise it. I’m not one known to run from responsibility. One thing is for certain though: I’ve got to leave tomorrow, if I want that job. That’s my ticket out of here, to a better life, the life I’ve worked eight years on a shop floor to get. I don’t want to be a line worker forever, George.”

“Well, then, what’s the next move?” The generous host offered Ben another beer.

“No, thanks. I need to drive.”

“That’s a first.”

“…and to answer your question: I have no idea.”

“…and there’s another.”

© 2013 by Corvidae in the Fields, all rights reserved

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I met a man of which I knew from grade school at a bar tonight. It was the typical smiles, handshakes, and light conversation. Location, occupation, that sort of thing. As I finally found my chance to go to the bar, he ended up following me. He wanted to buy me a drink. I refused. He persisted, and I was persistent as well. Finally, he said a question which I was never expecting. He said, “do you loathe me?”

I really wasn’t sure what to say at such a question. He repeated himself, and followed up with “…because I was a piece of shit to you in grade school.” He was, of course, right on the money. The aggregate of the school body was something I was trying to put behind me. After having a not-so-great week, this was the last thing I wanted dredged up on my plate. I paid for my drink, and told him we were kids. I’ve tried to put that all behind me. After that, I excused myself to the best of my ability, and went into an empty room.

About five minutes later, he enters the room and asks if he may speak with me. I obliged, but didn’t like where it was going. He proceeded to apologize for his cruelty, and the reasons why. I told him in a very calm way that I understood his reasons, and that I wasn’t completely blameless.

After the apology, he told me he had sought everyone he had been cruel to and gave them an apology. He thought he was done, but until that night, he had forgotten about me. That’s  par for the course with my character. Out of sight and out of mind.

I would be prone to think that the typical response would be gratitude. So, I thanked him for his apology and said I hoped it helps him along his path in life. However, it deeply upset me. He knew it. I knew he knew it, and that upset me even further. I was angry that he had brought all of this back to the forefront after 25+ years. I was angry that he was seeking absolution right then and there. I was angry that I couldn’t do anything about it. I was most angry, though, for not being satisfied. It didn’t help in the slightest.

Over the past few years, I was beginning to think that some recognition of what I endured for over a decade would feel like release or relief in some way. There was none. I still felt as hollow as the days I entered that public institution. I felt no euphoria; I was pissed I was wrong.

He finally said he would leave me alone for the night, and that brought some comfort. That didn’t, however, re-roll all that was unraveled before me. The entire night, I could not stop thinking about it. People who usually see me as genial or polite must have thought something was wrong with me. They would be right. Paranoia crept in, as a gaggle of unidentified women trampled in to the room, looked at my book, heard the jazz, laughed, and walked out. My blood boiled. Most people don’t change.

The infuriating part is: I can’t think any better of the ones that do.

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