Harry did his best to quietly close the front door when he got home from work. He knew she would be asleep, and he didn’t want to wake her. He hung his jacket on the coat-rack, pulled off his shoes, and walked to the kitchen in the dark.
“I should eat something. I haven’t eaten since…” He never finished that sentence. He hadn’t eaten since before he left for work, over 9 hours earlier. He was home, and he was supposed to be hungry. He was supposed to eat something. Something dinner like. A sandwich, and a salad maybe? He rummaged through the kitchen. “Everything takes work.”
Which is how he wound up with a can of beer, and four chocolate fudge cookies. “This’ll do.” It wouldn’t really. But he was too tired to care.
He carried the beer and cookies to the Family Room, where he sat on the sofa and turned on the TV. Harry took a chug of his beer, popped an entire cookie in his mouth, picked up the remote, and started surfing the channels. Surfing channels was always a challenge for him as he never knew what he wanted to watch until he found it. With five hundred channels, that sometimes took a while.
He finally settled on a movie. One of those action movies, with lots of bullets, fights, car chases, explosions, and a hero who got the girl. Harry liked action movies. “No brain cells required.” This was his time. His quiet time. His escape time. He knew, when he went to bed he’d wake to the noise of her alarm. He’d be awake until she left for work. He could take a nap after that, but then the laundry wouldn’t get washed, the dishes would sit in the sink, and he wouldn’t do his exercises.
He leaned back in the sofa, closed his eyes a moment, and realized closing his eyes was a mistake. It let his brain cells think. And his brain cells told him how tired he was, how much everything hurt. His knees, shoulders, back, ribs. Everything hurt. So he opened his eyes and resumed watching the movie. “That’s better.”
This was his life. Get up when she got up. Say goodbye when she left for work. Put in a workout. Wash laundry and dishes. Run the vacuüm. Mow the lawn. Whatever needed doing. Then, eat something for lunch, get a shower, shave, and go to work. She always got home after he left for work. She was always in bed when he got home from work. He knew she’d insist he eat something, so he always ate something. He watched a bit of TV, and unwound from his day at work.
Then, finally, he went to bed. This was his daily journey through life. “I suppose, as it goes, it’s not much of a journey, is it.” Sometimes he found himself thinking such things. When he did, he always heard that old song, “Shove me in the shallow water, before I get too deep.” It was like a danger sign in his head. “Stay away from this. It’s nothing but trouble.”
As he watched the movie, Harry stretched out on the sofa. God, it felt good to stretch out, to lie down. God, it felt good to let the day fall away. God, it felt good. Harry fell asleep, with the TV on, knowing the next day, his journey through life would continue with another endless day in a string of endless days. Where every day, and every thing, were always the same.
Harry never remembered his dreams. They just got in the way of his journey.
It’s April 11th, the 10th day of the 2015 A to Z Challenge. This is the 10th of 26 pieces I’m writing in April. Today, the letter J. Tomorrow, the letter K? Even I don’t know what I’ll write.