Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Plan

The tension in Mark’s back spread upwards. Tension crept into his shoulders; his neck; his jaw; and the corner of his left eye. Mark tightened his grip on the steering wheel and frowned: gridlock.

It had been a tough day: finished things had been undone, and unfinished things had become more complicated. It was a day in which tense people forgot their manners and tension spread throughout the office.

Mark relived every troubling moment of the day while he drove. By the time he got home he was exhausted and tired. He unlocked the front door and headed straight to bed.

As he entered the bedroom he caught a glimpse of his own care-worn face in a full-length mirror.

“This is your fault,” he whispered.

And then anger gripped him: tension and weariness were evaporated by the fierce fire that rose within him.

“This is your fault.” A shout this time, flecks of spittle flying.

Mild mannered Mark became a god of fury.

“You’re a joke; a has-been. You’re nothing.”

For the next hour Mark raged at his own reflection. Strong language; derision; mocking and hurtful words: Mark was a river in flood.

Many hateful things were said that night as Mark recounted all the times he’d let himself down. He told himself that he was ugly and useless and a failure.

“The world would be better off…” but he didn’t finish the sentence. Instead he shrugged his shoulders, and sat down.

He sat with his head on his knees, thinking about his life; about his plans; about the things he’d hoped would happen that hadn’t: and the things he never dreamed would happen that had.

Outside, night fell, and a cricket began to chirp.

Slowly Mark raised his head. He could see his sad reflection in the bottom of the full-length mirror.

“Truce?” he whispered.

He got up and walked over to a cupboard that stood in the corner. He opened the door and pulled out an old exercise book that had the words ‘The Plan’ written in big bold letters across the front. Mark remembered the young man he had been; the young man with the big ideas: the big plan.

He sat down and began leafing through the book. Every now and then he would tear out a page, crumple it up and throw it over his right shoulder. Then he took a pen and began to write. He wrote for several hours before collapsing into bed, tired but happy.

Mark slept well.
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