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The Old Man


An old man, a tired, old man sitting in the quiet confines of his apartment, that's what he was, experiencing seclusion from the world. He rather seemed to enjoy the isolation for there was no frown; a look of profound contentment, in fact, spread itself smugly across his face.

The old man did not move about much, for he was tired with age, perhaps even paining from it. These details I cannot relate, for I am a young author, but I can tell the tale of his life, for I know it, I was there. This story will lack elaborate adjective and metaphor, for his life was never lived with any sort of energy that might be considered to require extraordinary description. Adverbs will be plain as his actions weren't all too colorful or passionate. He often admonished himself for not knowing the joy one's soul can exude when happy to be alive, in love with living. He knew of it, but didn't experience an elated soul turning inward with self-awareness to ponder itself in awe of the amazing miracle of its existence.

He often sat in his apartment gazing absently at pieces of paper strewn about. Newspapers, magazines, advertisement flyers. He stared at them for long hours, forcing his mind not to think in words, but instead only in emotional wisps, mere ghosts. He would empty his mind as much as was possible by restricting the narrow conduit of thought that bubbles a miniscule amount from the subconscious into the conscious chamber of the mind where his awareness dwelled. He tried to make it as much like the interior of his apartment as possible, strewn with debris, the artifacts of prior activity, but lacking the signature of a current inhabitant. With fog in his mind, he could stare at words on paper without the slightest bit of comprehension, even recognition. He might as well have been from another culture with no concept of a written language. The words became visual effects only, they lost all auditory effect to him. The written word is an abstract representation of verbal communication, of language, but that abstraction was lost to him as they became speckles on the page, forming wavy patterns along an unjustified margin.

A light tingling rolled down his body as his humanness disconnected from the outside world. This state of mind he sought was comforting, lulling, peaceful, calming. Gently floating in the ether of thought wisps, alone in the silence of mind and apartment, prisoner of a strange addiction, an addiction of freedom from stimulus. The old man never drank, for here was an escape for him that left his mind sharp and head free of aching when the sun next crept over the world and spilled its rays into his bedroom and onto his sleeping eyes. He suffered no ill effects except for decay of the complex circuitry in his brain from disuse, but the loss of the unneeded was of no concern to him; had he been aware, he would have approved, for the loss of each connection meant a life more simple for him, leaving him less able to comprehend the world outside which did not interest him. It wasn't a matter of no longer interesting him. The world never did. He was its prisoner, forced to allow it to cast images into the private chambers of his consciousness, forced to endure it, like a man trodding nude and shaven across desert sands under a blazing sun with painful sunburn an inevitability, day after day. He had found that lone desert bush, and he hid under it for protection, and to hell with escaping the desert, because it meant not escape, but a terrible demise.

He knew it wasn't the right way to live, but that's how he turned out, anyway, how things went in his life. The words had abandoned the task of telling the story of his life because nothing transpired to justify them.


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