OLAF

Posted: March 21, 2015 in Chat
Tags: ,

Olaf stared out of the kitchen window; the garden had grown out, all the work he had done this past year was undone by the continually fertile energies of what was left of nature in this overdeveloped area.

His dressing gown was scutched here and there, coffee and tea stained his lap, front, cuffs. He caught sight of himself in the window’s reflection, superimposed on the wild garden; his hair looked erratic, too short, and grey now, but it still stuck up all over the place, no order, no system. The bags under his eyes, the pallor of his cheeks; another night of broken sleep.

On his kitchen table partially buried by cups, mugs, plates and used cutlery the corner of an official looking letter was just visible, the insignia of the city hospital, Oncology Department. The room was centred on it, and it tethered Olaf like a dog on a leash; he moved around the room from cupboard to sink to chairs; at one time he paused by the back door, hand on the handle, but couldn’t open it. If the door had come open just then, would he, more to the point could he, have gone through and out of this, out to where there were options? Outside there were stars, distant, remote, and untouched by any of this. Outside a lone plane was riding its light across an arc of night sky; the passengers would be asleep, racked back in their seats. Maybe there would be one person awake, one presence there in the sky, looking down on the silent city, maybe even glimpsing this one lit window, and just for a second wondering, even idealising a kind of perfect alternative life for themselves here. If they only knew. If they only knew then they would know that there is no escape, no alternative, no possible way out. Maybe they would load up with tablets: maybe they would have that courage, because it certainly was missing down here.

The doorway to the hall was open, dark and anonymous; he could hide in the dark there; but the letter held him. This had gone on for days. The chair he slept in, the mop bucket he used as a toilet….

And then out in the dark of the hall, the phone rang.

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Comments
  1. Daedalus Lex says:

    Prose style engages well. Is this part of something larger?

    • Hi and thanks –
      very kind of you. How do you write?
      I try and get verbatim what my head dictates, sort of.
      Yes, it’s part of an experiment in delay.
      I just hope the end piece is strong enough to warrent it all!

      • Daedalus Lex says:

        Good question — how do I write? I hardly know. Surrender to the muse and fly by the seat of my pants. But I suppose that my “automatic pilot” has been conditioned by years of reading, writing, and analyzing texts, all competing and adapting to the quagmire of possibilities in my brain.

  2. That’s the unspoken bit, isn’t it: all we have read before. I thought, ‘hmm, maybe just the ones we have read with our critical eye’ but no, I think everything gets in! Good and bad! Is it the contexts we put them help them to speak to us?

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