The Man & The Box

He came to the café to get away.  Away from the causes of his restless mind—in a place where thoughts float nearby and linger; allowing you to step back and analyze every angle.  He patronized that place quite young—when jobs were still hard to come by in the city.  With a piece of silver from his father, he would sit and linger.

With time a friend took mercy on his sedentary soul.  He gave him the afternoon shift at his storefront—selling this and that.  The young man took it without a second thought.  The café remained all the same in the months and years that followed.  It was the man who changed.  No longer was it a place to linger.  It became a place to rest his mind after a day of busied thoughts.  He’d sit there sipping; simply staring at the world as it shifted around him.

And change it did.  His father fell ill and never woke up.  He never spoke of that moment.  But his hours at the café grew longer those days.  Within his mind he stayed.  Before long, the barista bought a box.  Every evening it brought entertainment and news.  The man did not like the box.  It interrupted his lingering thoughts.  When the days were not too hot or indicated with rain, the man stayed outside, away from the noisy box.

He married a girl who patronized the store where he had his daily shift.  She had a pretty face and knew nothing of the world.  As his mother grew old and memories deteriorated, he gave her a grandson.  She never seemed to understand the baby was her flesh and blood.  This troubled the man.  But still she cooked the best meals—that part of her mind was safe from all.  In those days his hours at the café shortened.  He raised his son, loved his wife, and said goodbye to his mother.

And, still, the world changed.  He watched on the box as the powers in The West invaded his brothers to The East time and time and time again.  He hated the box.  It told them only of the bad in the world.  Never of the good.  His thoughts would always turn dark those days.  He found reasons not to stop by the café.  Instead, as his children grew in number, he stayed in the house.

The men at the café mocked him.  Why would he stay in the house like a woman when he could talk politics like a man?  But the world was changing.  He did not wish to talk of the world that the box portrayed.  He only wished to sit with his thoughts.  On the few days that he went to the café, he let his mind wonder—outside and away from the box.

As his fingers crippled and his children matured, his temperament never changed.  He sat outside with his thoughts and watched the world change.  Today he lingers at the café with slowing thoughts of years gone by.  Though many men surround him—they know not how to ponder.  The box on the wall has shifted with time.   Now so small and without a cord, young men carry it wherever they go.

No longer a place to sit and think, this aging man returns home.  He walks slowly along the road, thinking of the young men at the café.  They carry the box with them wherever they go.  And it weighs them down so.

 

One thought on “The Man & The Box

  1. Pingback: A short hiatus | Richard T. Reilly

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