He stood at the edge of the walking path. It was peak hour to walk the lake and he needed to get out of the way of the bustling foot traffic. He was winded, the pace he had set for himself was too much. Exhausted, he put his hands on his aching sides and tried to catch his breath. His legs were starting to cramp. He looked around and realized he was almost halfway around. Losing motivation, but aware that it’s the same distance back as it is to continue, he started to walk again. His mind was still racing but he furiously tried to control it. The events of his day were racing through his mind and exercise was the only way he knew to work it off, sort things out. As days go, today was pretty shitty on all fronts.
He thought of his late father and his trademark line, “everything will work out, it always does”. He never actually believed it to be true but he loved how his father believed so strongly in it. This shit, he thought to himself, this shit is not going to work itself out.
I wish you were here to talk to right now, Dad. I could use some of that cheerful optimism of yours that I once scoffed at, he mused as he trudged forward. His Dad always seemed to have it together. Sure, he sometimes acted badly in his marriage. He had money problems but he alwaysgot through it. He hated his job, but he always did it with pride and dedication. He never acted like I am right now. I’m a hot mess. I can’t stand my wife, I’m on the brink of foreclosure and my boss is a fucking psycho that I love one minute and hate the next. How would Dad handle all of this?
Bill Marshall was well-known among friends, family, and business associates for his resilience and cheerful demeanor. It was a great source of pride to him that this applied to more than just his public, outside persona. He was also committed to maintaining a positive frame of mind even when alone and talking to himself, which today he was doing quite a bit of. What people didn’t realize is that it required nearly all of his energy to maintain that reputation. There are limits to what any man can take, as he was fond of thinking. despite the fact that he rarely allowed himself such slack. He held himself to an impossible standard. Today, when the walls felt like they were closing in, he decided to give himself a rare break. Snap out of it! he reprimanded himself, you’re not going to fix anything in this state of mind. With the equivalent of a snap of a finger, he let his day wash off of him and he just walked. To keep his mind empty and focused he walked while looking down at the ground and concentrated on playing “don’t step on a crack”, a game from his childhood. This amused him for a while and it wasn’t long before noticing that he was approaching the final stretch where his car sat waiting for him. It was the only car in the lot.
When Bill reached the clearing to the parking lot, he saw a lone figure in the parking lot very close to his parked car. Great, I’m probably getting robbed or vandalized. He began to walk faster, marveling that his day is somehow getting worse.
He felt the phone in his back pocket vibrating. He was tempted not to even look to see who was calling. It was most likely his wife doing the nightly “where are you” call. God, he fucking hated that call. Often, he contemplated answering and saying “as far away from you as possible!” and hanging up but he knew that wouldn’t end well. Then again, it could be one of his kids calling and he grabbed for the phone. Too late, he had missed the call, but it was indeed the wife. Here comes the text, he thought. 2 seconds later it came through.
Where are U?
Bill chuckled to himself despite his annoyance. He called that one. He didn’t respond. He had a walk to finish and possibly a kid to beat up.