Help the One Under You

The 37-year-old man stood at my sink in my kitchen which held my shoes full of their diminishing suds. He was wanting more of my gruel but I did not feel comfortable feeding him more. He was never an invited presence. The day he was first present, it was due to an unlawful climbing over my fence and though I felt urges to care and comfort him in the darkness and uncertainty he bore, my feelings of charity were now faded and ratty like bad socks.

There was an incident in which the 37-year-old man sleeping in my chair was abductied by a creature-like woman with no face and incomprehensible strength in her body which had an appearance of weakness. In the morning I woke from an ugly sleep to find that her feet left a glittering trail, and my perceived duty in the life I would live that day was to follow her to ensure that the 37-year-old man who had been my ward was safe in a comfortable place.

Had he not been safe, had his comfort been eroded, had he been in danger of bodily harm or mental anguish, it would have been my somber task to pull him from the situation by whatever means necessary using the intellectual tools and physical prowess I had accumulated in life to that point, either by effort of will or chance and unchosen circumstance. The spectrum of possible outcomes I pondered was without boundary, and I thought of houses in trees, roofs of public high schools, and other places more unsavory and now a burden to conjure.

What I felt was that it was a greater confusion to come to terms with when I discovered that the glittering footprints took me to my own home, where the 37-year-old man was lounging in the same chair from which he was abducted the night before, perusing the classified ads for free pets.

Though the result of the day's searching was indeed that the 37-year-old man was safe and in comfort, his unwillingness or inability to account for his whereabouts, to divulge specific details about his day spent with the creature-like woman, struck me unable to feel a sense of relief and satisfaction.

So I did not want to give him more of my precious gruel, which was a source of sustenance and warmth in the soul's dark moments when thoughts of the inevitable erased the nuances of a life enjoyed and connected to a web of other lives. In such moments, all existence seems to be a useless parade circling a block of condemned buildings and never concluding; the ingestion of my self-concocted slurry of grains and the exotic blend of spices integrated into it is a renewed connection to the secret physical world and its sensations and pleasures I hide from the dark hand looming.

So I did not want to give him more, and I frowned with a hard chin and I turned from him hoping that his presence would cease and the impression of the light reflected from his body would fade from my eyes, my hardening eyes.