It was a normal day, weather very middling, his mood and even that of his partner very middling, events planned for the day very middling, it was yet another normal day and he had had enough of them. Enough of them twice over, enough to give some out charitably to everyone he met, just in case they were having a bad day and wanted to switch one out. He would take the bad day just for the excitement of something different to do. Like eating the same bowl of plain cornflakes every day for breakfast - and with no milk at that - he was not sure how much longer he could go on. The view from his windows seemed to fade by the day, leaving him feeling as if he really were looking at nothing. He seemed to know it so well and yet not at all. Ask him to draw it from memory, or to describe it, he could not do so to any satisfactory level. But leave him with nothing to do except stare out of the window in hopes of finding some kind of enlightenment, he would know it all too much for it to look real anymore. Semantic satiation but without the semantic. But no because he was not sated by looking out of the window at elusive skylines was he, so scrap that idea.

Something had to change, he could admit to that. What he could also admit to was the fact that he was extremely unlikely to ever be brave enough to do anything dramatic about that, something obvious like moving house to Greece, or leaving his job and becoming a farmer. Levels of misery currently being a little too high for his liking, he was not tempted to up and leave his life behind and start anew, risking becoming somehow even more confused and alone than he already felt. No, leaving behind what he already had was not the way to go, it would more than likely break him. Instead of losing, he would have to gain. Something would have to be added to the mix to rescue him, give him enough of a boost that he could pull himself the rest of the way up to whatever level it was he needed to be at to feel something apart from annoyance at his partner’s persistently out of key whistling to songs that did not deserve to be on the radio.

Sex, drugs, alcohol, those were not on the table. He had a nice balance of all three already and he did not think gaining some kind of unhealthy addiction counted as a positive gain. Perhaps he should change the rules, instead of just gaining ‘something’, the aim was to gain something good. Sex, drugs, alcohol, all good in some measure, a measure he was committed to maintaining. So not the answer to his problems. What else did lonely middle aged people do when they needed a change? They got a dog? He could get a dog, a friend to follow him around everywhere, a companion, someone to feed and walk and feel responsible for. He did practically already have one of those though and he was not sure his partner would be willing to share his feeding and walking capabilities with a dog.

Mindfulness seemed to be the way these things went these days, not that he felt he was quite on top of what that really meant for him. Before doing anything too dramatic, for example getting that dog, perhaps it was best to see if he could work with whatever he had now. He could start going out for a morning jog, the people who went on morning jogs seemed to rave about them as if they were some cure-all solution. The problem was, the only respite he seemed to find was that of the evening, nothing left planned until tomorrow, free time to do with what he needed, and getting up early in the morning and going for a jog did not seem to bode well for his favourite time of the day. What else did people do to appreciate life? Have at least one contemplative coffee break per day, sitting on a bench in the closest field or by the closest large enough expanse of water. Harder to do in the city but he had always been one for city views, perhaps he could find some kind of rooftop café he could stop off at regularly to review his days, watching the city lights and remembering that wind was a thing that existed when you were not constantly surrounded by very tall buildings keeping it all away. Contemplative silences seemed to be too much of a risk, at least at first until he had discovered whether he could use them wisely or whether they would merely be a painful half an hour of battling his own thoughts with too few distractions. Best to take along his partner the first few times to partake in simultaneous contemplative silences, the other there as back up in case mindfulness turns out to be a very bad idea.

Saying that, a contemplative silence (say that one more time mate) sounded beneficial, sounded like a step in the right direction, but it did not sound fun. What did sound fun however, was sitting on a windy rooftop and watching the lights of the city with his partner. To not be alone, was that not what this whole thing had been about in the first place, the need for some more of the good. That would be something new, to have a friend to spend his precious spare time with, to move from work partners to friends. Sounded awkward to even say to himself which might cause problems when trying to inconspicuously follow him around like a little lost puppy. It was, however, the most appealing idea he had heard in a while. It sent a wave of relief through him, like everything was going to be alright, was going to be better, like this was the answer he had been looking for all this time and everything else was just on the way here, making him work for it.

August 13, 2021 22:38

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RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

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