The day was bright, but it hadn’t been that way in the morning. The morning had been grayer, but the friendly sun chose to grace the skies with its presence. Jack was happy about this at first, for he did enjoy very much when nature leaned towards happiness. Only later did he wonder if it might be better that the day had stayed gray.
Jack, while getting the mail for his roommate Thomas, had accidentally looked up at the sky. In doing so, light blond beams of sunshine struck his face. The radiance of the rays overwhelmed him, and he breathed in a long deep breath of fresh beautiful air. Within seconds, a fantasy began to seep into his consciousness.
He imagined the warm flowery air of one spring afternoon—a Saturday, he thought—filled with the chirping of birds overhead in the lush green canopy above him. He was sitting on a blanket, his back propped against the trunk of a tree. That a piece of Southern fried chicken, wrapped in crinkly off-white parchment paper, was sitting on his lap was not important. That the potato salad was lazing away in a charming little container that had a cartoon frog on its lid was not important. That there was cool lemonade resting in a squat red Thermos topped with a white cap was not important. It wasn’t important that the blanket was a checkered red and white plaid, or that the lunch he’d brought was sitting in a wicker picnic basket. Nor was it important that he was surrounded by the grassy smell of the park he was in. No, he was just glad that he had a nice gal next to him, laying on the blanket, propping herself up by her elbow and looking upon him with a gentle smile. Simple serenity was what his folksy heart sought satisfaction in, and find it he did.
The young man indulged in this fantasy for but a brief moment. Down the street, the barkingoftwosmall dogs pricked the bubble in him that had become so easily inflated. Inside his heart this fantasy lingered, and he wished deeply to allow it as a welcome guest. He wished for it to stay for dinner, to accompany him for his evening meal so that he might have a real conversation instead of letting his eyes gaze through a television screen. He wished that it would stay the night, to keep his heart warm as he slept. He wished that it would stay, just a little bit longer.Alas, he knew that it could not, nor could he abide such flights of fancy; and thus he bade it farewell. It was these moments that he hated, when he’d feel the hollowness expanding inside him. It would have been so much easier for him to have remained in his collapsed state. Such a state was, for him, the status quo, and thus he paid it no mind. Rather, it was the feeling of air rushing out of the void inside him that hurt the most. As he closed the mailbox and turned the key to lock it, he made a promise to himself that he would not allow himself to ever expose himself to such absurdities as he had just experienced. He simply could not afford it anymore.
That night, Jack ate in front of the television. When he was done eating, he let go of his fork and knife, allowing them to fall to the table. His utensils, which he’d stolen from the airline the one time he’d taken an airplane, tumbled into the empty beer bottle, knocking it down. The clatter of it all echoed loudly throughout his small abode.
Then, he began to weep.
Tears rolled not down his cheek but instead silently welled up within himself, a reservoir of uncried tears muting his spirit. As he washed the dishes, he allowed the tears to pool and pool, and by the end of the night, as he tried his very best to fall asleep, he thought that perhaps it was possible for him to allow those tears to fill the void enough so that he would never feel that horrible feeling of being forcefully deflated again. And such were his thoughts as he drifted away.