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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Prompt: It was a time when he had been happy and hadn't known it.

S. Palmerton

     Jack stood outside, leaning against the white post railing of the wrap-around porch. He looked over the horizon. Rolling hills stretched out in front of him. And in his view, long, uncut grasses waved as swirls of ocean breezes blew inland from the west.

     He breathed in air so clean, he wondered if he were breathing at all.

     Jack thought of the moving boxes inside. Some were opened, and all were labeled and in the appropriate rooms. The quietness surrounding him seemed louder than the taxi cabs he used to hear at night. That was of a time when he had been happy and hadn't known it. Now, he realized it.

     Jack took another deep swallow of beer and crumpled the can in his hand. He left the porch and walked back into his cabin. A lone open window showed the only movement inside, as navy curtains shifted easily in the breeze like the outside grasses.

     I miss the haze of smog as the sun sets in the city, he thought. His mind drifted as he walked over to boxes, opening a couple and walking away, disinterested in taking out any holdings.

     Jack walked over to the refrigerator and got another beer.

     A rhythm of quick steps caught his attention as he heard paws of his new Labrador slapping the wood floor.  Looking down, Jack saw slobber drop next to his boot. His dog, London, barked once.

    "Want some food do you? Me too." Jack poured some dry food for London and took some cheese and salami slices for himself.

       The screen door creaked and shut with a snap behind him as he walked outside. Jack winced, knowing he would be fixing that this week too. He looked over to a tractor showing rust around more than its edges.

     Man, what was I thinking? He paused. A little farming, fresh air, the quiet and a change would do me good, he remembered.

     He wondered. What would he do without the city lights and movement of people? All kinds of people, meandering together in ways he thought had agitated him, and now he felt he missed the rush...the communion. He felt antsy inside his belly as he looked around... at all this space. Time felt broader, unfilled and waiting for him--and he didn't know what to do.

     I'd rather have ten things to get done in the same hour like I used to. I feel unproductive, even bored here.   "The city never bored me. That's for certain."  Doc said I needed a change to live. I don't know. I felt more alive before. Living out here may be slow self-extinguishing... all this silence.

     A bark came from inside. Jack put his plate and beer down on the white wooden porch and stood from the rocking chair. London sat at the screened door, looking for company, looking for Jack.

     "Come on out, guy" Jack said, as he opened the door. He figured his Lab would run over the grassy grounds with delight.

     London didn't. He sat beside the rocker and looked up at Jack and then to the horizon.

     Jack laughed. "Okay, let's see how this is done... this thing called relaxing." He sat down and reached to pet behind London's ears.

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