Two Mornings

Scenario One:

Each morning, I step onto the patio, and before the world opens its eyes, I listen to it sleep. I know instantly what type of sleep it is by the strength of the wind. It is the sound of the world breathing.

I step onto the ledge and I breathe with it. Some mornings, it is calm and gentle: a peaceful slumber. Others, it is swift and ferocious: a turbulent sleep.

The birds are awake, but they don’t notice me- or, if they do, they pay no mind. What a wonderful feeling, to roam freely amidst the dreams of an entire world, undetected, unseen.

Someone else is here. I hear his forceful footsteps before I see him. He is hunched, but just a bit, and his Wolverine boots land with a thud on each step.

He comes into view slowly. His mouth is curled into a scowl, which seems to lengthen his already long face. He is clean-shaven, and his brown hair is trimmed neatly except where it covers the top half of his ears. He’s wearing simple blue jeans and a blue argyle sweater. He looks uncomfortable in the sweater.

He still doesn’t see me. By the time I reach the end of the driveway, he’s past me.

“What is your most prized possession?” I call.

He jerks his head around, looking for the voice. Finally, his eyes land on me.

“What?”

“What is your most prized possession?” I repeat.

He looks behind him, then turns back towards me. He doesn’t speak for four, maybe five seconds.

“What the fuck kinda question is that?”

“Mine is an old baseball. Got a Cleveland Indians logo on it. I took it to every Indians game my grandfather took me to. One day, Bob Feller was there signing autographs. He was my favorite baseball player, even though he pitched forty years before I was born. Wanted to be just like him when I was a kid. I took my ball up to him after the game- had to stand in line for almost an hour. He signed it, and afterwards me and Grandpa went to our favorite hot dog joint. I showed everyone that ball, holding it like it was the Hortensia Diamond. Best day of my life, I think.”

The man stood silent for a few more seconds before he started scratching his head.

“Do I know you? Why the hell are we having this conversation?”

“When I get a bit pissed off, I think about that baseball. It calms me down. Works every time, in fact.”

The man nodded a small smile of recognition, then extended his hand.

“Name’s Ted,” he said.

I shook his hand. “Tom.”

“Car won’t start,” he said. “I’m late for work already, and my wife was giving me hell about it. Said I should just take a day off and stay home like it’s a sign from God. I can’t afford to, ya know? In fact, I was hoping to get some overtime this week.”

I smiled.

“I was just about to make a cup of coffee. I make it good and strong. You seem like you could use a cup.”

He looked behind me and down the street.

“Yeah. Yeah, I sure as hell could use a good cup of coffee,” he said.

“Follow me.”


Scenario Two:

Each morning, I step onto the patio, and before the world opens its eyes, I listen to it sleep. I know instantly what type of sleep it is, by the strength of the wind. It is the sound of the world breathing.

I step onto the ledge and I breathe with it. Some mornings, it is calm and gentle: a peaceful slumber. Others, it is swift and ferocious: a turbulent sleep.

The birds are awake, but they don’t notice me- or, if they do, they pay no mind. What a wonderful feeling, to roam freely amidst the dreams of an entire world, undetected, unseen.

I take a deep breath before returning inside. I start a pot of coffee, then pull out my phone while it’s brewing. Three mentions. Four retweets. Two likes.