The Present

Dark room. He didn’t dare turn on the light. Walking in darkness. Unable to make out his hand. Feeling the walls down the hallway. A black cat crosses his path. Like a blind man, he can not find a light switch. The refrigerator hums.

He stumbles to a chair. Breathes. His hands find a pack of cigarettes and matches. He lights one. Looks around as the flame diminishes. Briefly sees pots and pans piled up in the sink. Listens closely. A constant drip of water slowly hitting a plate is heard.

One of these days, I’ll get around to it, he says out loud. One of these days, I’ll clean this whole mess up, he says. A mouse runs across the floor. The cat chases him. He lights another match. Sitting there, he feels the flame close to his thumb and forefinger. The heat kicks on. The match goes out. It is dark again.

At one time, there were night lights plugged into the walls. They burned out; never replaced. Just burnt bulbs sticking out of walls. He had air-freshners, too. Now the whole place smells of cat piss. He lights another cigarette. The lit end burns down as he sucks on it, blowing out a blue smoke.

She doesn’t live here anymore, he thought out loud. She’s moved on. Why? he asked. Maybe things got out of control. Maybe she stopped caring. Maybe I did, he stomps out the cigarette on the linoleum tile.

Sitting there in the dark. In the present. Past memories are slipping. He places his gray head on the table and falls asleep.

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