My Fate, My Script
Choose your words carefully
It was all sad and funny, yet pathetic. It was all those things at once.
Sitting in my underwear writing; typing away at the keyboard, watching the letters collect across the screen. I felt compelled to write as I dawdled away the day, frivolously squandering what precious little time I had remaining. But write I must. Other things impatiently clamored for my attention but I managed to suppress them. Action demanded I do something, yet here I sat. As I wrote, a pervading sense of doom lingered in the room; poised to leap at me like some dread beast. I felt as it were watching me, coiling for the pounce.
The clock in the den struck on the hour, striking me out of my stupor. Time was running out. It was all happening now. I knew it. But I had to finish this, before the deadline came. And so I wrote, feverishly. I wrestled with the words as I typed them; carefully choosing each of them, arranging them, crafting them to say what I desperately need them to say. Before it was too late.
I looked up. The minute hand counted down with somber efficiency as the ticks of fleeting time disappeared one by one. Any moment now.
And then, as if on cue, the door to my room swung suddenly open. My wife barged in. She cast her eyes at me. In one glance, her expression went from hurt to scorn. "Are you going to sit around the house all day in your underwear," she scolded me! "What's wrong you?"
I sat sullen. Silent. There was nothing I could say. How could I explain this to her?
She pauses. The silence is deafening. I glance at her face, the look of hurt etched across, a tear poised at her reddened eye. I knew what would happen next. Like a script in my mind, I heard the angry clack of heels across a wooden floor followed by the slam of a door. The dog sprawled out on the floor as a silent spectator lazily picked his head up to look my way before giving a sigh and slumping back to the floor, limp. Moments later I heard the distinctive sound of a car engine turn over, of wheels crunching in the gravel, and the spin of tires accelerating on the asphalt road; and then...silence. A deafening silence. This time I knew she wouldn't be back.
I loved her. I desperately did so. It hurt to see her leave. Her absence stung at me like salt in a wound. I so wanted to run after her, to tell her how I felt. But we were about to go our separate ways from here. The time to say I love you, as too often is, that time was past.
Desperate thoughts tugged at my mind as I resumed to write. I should do something, I thought. But what? What could I do to avert the impending visit? Could I run? Hide? Was there a place of refuge I could resort to? Nay. Was there some one I could call? Again, nay. No, the script was cast in stone.
Had I only known then I was writing my own fate
Desperate thoughts tugged at me. Should I run? Or hide? And yet the pathos somehow fed my desire to write, to record my fate as some detached but dreary undertaker going about his morbid task in the mortuary we call life.
But Write I Must....
I had sensed for days this sense of fate but felt unable to change the course of events. Postponing, deferring, prolonging the agony creeping over me. I braced for the next turn. I knew what would happen next.
And yet the pathos somehow fed my desire to write, to record my fate as some detached but dreary undertaker going about his morbid task in the mortuary we call life. I rehearsed in my mind the events as I supposed them to unfold, as if I were somehow performing my own autopsy. Grim duties of the writer, recording my life in the third person. It seemed I had chronicled my own demise, one sentence at a time.
And then the inevitable came. A knock at my door. I answered with reluctance. It was him. I knew he was coming, I was never sure when but now he stood at my door. I didn't want to answer, I desperately wanted to deny he was there on my stoop but there are some appointments you cannot ignore. And this was one of them.
This time I ceased to write. I trudged with trepidation toward the door. Into the maw I go.
The visitor called me by name. Are you he?
"You know who I am," I stammered. "Have you come to do your business," in quivering voice?
A lump formed in my throat. And then silence prevailed. There was nothing more to say.
The eirie thing is two days ago, this turn of events was nothing more than a story I had written. A simple work of fiction by my own hands that quickly became a snare of my own making. And now I found myself caught in the undertow of my own writing. I was becoming a victim of my own narrative. If only I had written this differently.
Perhaps you should also be careful how you write your own ending.
© 2013 Jim Henderson