And Time Grinds To A Standstill

by dschapman

Despite myself, I do my best to keep things moving. If I stopped, half the world, it seems, would stop with me. I don’t even do anything; it doesn’t make sense to me. But I seem to be necessary. My business partner is becoming at odds with me and I would meet him at eye-level if I thought he deserved it, but he doesn’t do anything, and he relies on me for everything, and he decries me when either of us fail. I cannot meet him eye-to-eye; I can hardly bear to look him. But I do what needs to be done and business carries on, as usual, and I manage the stakes, and I make sure we pay our taxes. Easy business, everything’s easy, nothing that anyone else couldn’t do, and yet sometimes it seems like nobody does it. At least not the people I know. Well, some of them are capable. Some of them are gentlemen. A gentleman talks me into selling my luxury car and buying something more practical. He says I can store it in his garage in the meantime, so that I will not wear it out any further, for free. I leave the car instead at my parents at my father’s advice and find out weeks later, having found myself a hopeful buyer, that they have been driving it every day to town and have put on another thousand miles. I try to be understanding – if anyone deserves a nice car, after all, it is those two – but I still feel like throwing a fit. My friend keeps asking me for favors, taking too great of a load on his shoulders and leaving me with the bulk of it, while my other friend needs a few bucks. I give him some money and buy him a meal and won’t see him again for a week, when he needs a few bucks, and I’ll buy him a meal. Meanwhile my stockbroker is talking me out of selling my positions, and my positions are cratering, and I am sick with distrust for my broker. The whole world is hostile and untrustworthy. I feel like a pillar of reason and decency, though I know that even I have hostility. I spread a few tendrils through the hostile environment but meet nothing worth getting close to, find nothing safe to touch; there is a boy and I like him, but he’s pathetic and weak, and his world is so rotten it makes me feel nausea. There is a woman in the city who is dying to see me, but I tell her I will never see her again because she’s too old for me, but she insists upon seeing me, though she’s really too old. I see her and it sickens me. I recoil my tendrils and shape a shield around my head. No one will harm me, now. They can’t even see me! I will conduct my business from inside my shell. They can think whatever they want; I am a stone in the wilderness. I am not subject to inspection, or judgment. I am without fitness or purpose. I feel like a Beduoin, fellowless. I do receive once nice message, and I cherish it, and I read it aloud; “It was so good to be around this morning when I woke up I just knew I was in love,” unsigned, though I know of course who write it. I keep my things tidied up beside me and a suitcase packed tightly with clothes, just in case something tragic should happen, and I should be obliged to fly to Portsmouth, or Spain; a death in the family, a runaway bride; sleepless, restless, red-eyed nights, in beds not one’s own; I tap my finger on my knee and wait for the train in the station. It is starting to feel like tomorrow will never arrive – that there is, in a sense, no tomorrow. Tomorrow is when the world will end. Today is when it’s ending, and yesterday is simply a fictional construct. Yes, that it explains it all… But as they say: Mañana…

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