He never was the type to really care about time. you can't see, touch or taste it, time is just there, its like air, except the side effects are lethal. You never really know how much spare time you have left in your pocket, you never really learn to accept the fact that it will eventually consume you. His friends appreciated his company, his sense of humor, the way he carried himself as if he didn't really care what anybody thought of him, except he did. He didn't need anymore friends, his phonebook had enough entries in it to make space for new ones, so in a group of fresh acquaintances he kept to himself.
Our lungs can hold up to seven pints of air, yet an average person takes in a pint of air with each breath. People with weak lungs often speak in monotone and may sound like there is sorrow in their voices. I happen to think his voice was a little too chipper for his own good, except in the mornings.
On the morning of his thirty fourth birthday, still in bed , he asked his wife what time it was, she replied and then asked him if she kisses the frog will it turn back into her loving husband, they smile, I smile. She wishes him one happy miracle on his birthday, followed by a kiss. After wiping the crusty remains of the morning from his eyes, he gets out of bed and goes about his daily routine. Except on that day being constantly interrupted by birthday phone calls as he brushes his teeth, puts on the moisturizer for his baggy eyes, reads the morning paper, puts on his favorite shirt - that has a small burn mark on the bottom corner of the shirt from when him and his wife went at it spontaneously and she tossed it onto a lamp. Making plans while making plans. I try not to disrupt his big day, after all, I have never seen him at this age yet, so I'm careful as to not bother him. His wife makes arrangements with his friends for the party later that day, its a weekend so they aim for mid afternoon. He was a bit of a troubled man, his life was a puzzle that was never really put together properly. If certain things bothered him, he was the kind of person to keep them bottled in.
If you unfold the lungs of an average adult, it could cover the size of a tennis court. I was never really into tennis. When he was younger, he thought he was special, he thought he was indestructible, so one day he jumped out of his family's third floor apartment balcony onto his neighbor's garden, where the first floor neighbors grew vegetables. He jumped because he was practicing his escape route, in case he ever needed to run away from home. Little was left of the vegetables in the garden, or his kneecap, which shattered on impact, it was eventually rebuilt and he was able to recover.
He gives his wife a hug, she gives him a shopping list, I give them more time. His mood is bright, but with each deep breath he takes, on the exhale, he feels as if his heart drops. That feeling you get when you are about to go through a drop on a roller coaster. In one of the rooms, a faint sound of alarm goes off, I tell him its okay, I will take care of it, he puts on his penny loafers and is out the door into the distant world of urban utility hunters and soccer moms. She sent him off, so she can cook and get everything ready for his big, birthday arrival. As he's walking around the stores, getting the important artifacts his significant other asked him for, he is being grazed by human traffic, shaken and pushed by random people that are telling him to wake up, and snap out of it. He feels light.
His wife is opening the door to greet the attendees, the Bobs and Tims and Jenniffers and Susans. Each one with a sack in hand, containing something of value that they think will throw a smile on our birthday boy's aging face. Conversations overlap in the living room with stories about how each attendee knows the host. Doorbell rings, Heathers, Johns, Andrews are all filling up the space in the tragic residence. He never liked celebrating his own birthday, as much as he did others. With bags in hand, he fumbles with the keys, stabs the keyhole and tackles the door to let himself inside, only to find himself being yelled and screamed at by his wife, close friends and a few family members.
He acts like he didn't know about this cheerful ambush and goes along with it, widening his eyes and smiling at everybody, mouthing thank you's. Hugs are being bestowed upon him, he is happy. In the middle of hugging one of the screamers, another screamer attaches what looks like a pointy device that can receive cable, to the top of his head. Everybody else is wearing one, they just made him a part of their delightful cult. He is thirty four, and they are making him feel like a child again, being spoiled by the warm compliments and wishes, that will never come true. As soon as the majority of guests each got their turn to verbally molest him with kindness, he is led by his wife (hand in hand) into a room, full of edible goodness, that she has prepared herself.
One time, at around the age of seven, he ate something that was most likely expired, for breakfast. On his way to school, he started to feel bloated, he felt like his stomach was expanding, he was scared that his insides were going to explode. He asked the teacher to call his mother, so that she can pick him up and fix him. Mother rushed over from work, worrying about her offspring and his nearly-exploding bowels, dragged him out of school and onto a bus to a hospital. She felt terrible that she didn't know what to do until they got to the hospital, so she just pet his head while he's cringing and holding his stomach. As they arrived at the hospital, he was nearly crying because he was in pain and didn't know what was going on inside of him, before they went into the doctor's office, he asked his mother to go to the bathroom. She waited patiently outside, worried, pacing. He came out with a look of relief and a deep sigh, it was the first time he had gas cramps.
At this point, the guests have managed to devour most of the meal his wife have prepared and people are requesting the presence of cake. While he sits at the helm of this dining committee, lights go dim. His eyes feel heavy, his breathing is stable, a wave of haze washes over him. His beautiful wife comes out of another room, with her face dimly lit by the flickering candles inserted into the cake. As the light dances across her face, her voice gets lost in the sea of other guests, though you can make out what her mouth is trying to say. Everybody is singing in unison, including me, while she brings the cake closer to him and as soon as the song comes to and end, a round of applause is being awarded to him. Now this is the moment where people normally make a wish, he draws a blank, and since he has everything, he looks at his beautiful wife and wishes for comfort in his life.
He inhales a large amount of air, to get rid of the light that's illuminating everyone's face, looses his balance and collapses to the ground, his lungs collapse along with him, while the cake falls beside him off his wife's hands. I look at him laying there, clawing at his chest and feel like this has happened before. Everybody is panicking, screaming, but not the joyous screaming that guests of this tragic party were so eager to lay on his ears just moments before the meal. This is a different kind of surprise. His wife is crying over his twitching body now, people are dialing different numbers, and time seems like it has slowed down. Its getting darker now, even though some candles are still lit on the floor, marinating in cake. As his eyes glaze over, and his hearing is disappearing, I tell him. "Sometimes, amidst the cluttered archives of your life, you find comfort and sometimes, people wear pointy hats."
Everything goes black.
He wakes up.