Sam had an extra hour for lunch, so he went home, and he took off all of his clothes and sat on the couch, and he massaged his aching feet. He lay beneath a throw and stared at the ceiling. He managed to think of his life as if it were a thin dark line on a large piece of white paper. At one end was his birth; at the other end, the end. He tried to think to the edges of the paper, and to see how far it went, and what happened at those edges, and it was all murky and slippery. He thought like this for some time, and dozed off.
He woke, and jolted when he looked at the clock. If he’d moved quickly, dressed in a hurry, taken the stairs two at a time, and strode with purpose along the street, he’d have made it back to work just in time. Out of breath, but on the hour. But he didn’t want to do any of those things. Instead, he got up, and he didn’t get dressed. He took a shower. Then he tried on some clothes that he hardly ever wore, and realised he’d put on a bit of weight in the last year or so. He splashed some cologne from a bottle that he kept at the top of his wardrobe. The smell had evened and softened, and it was rather delightful, like the smell of an old leather purse.
The boss phoned him. ‘Lunch was just the two hours,’ he said, in that creeping, tiptoeing voice he had.
‘I know it was only two hours,’ said Sam. ‘I know.’
© Barry Lee Thompson and ‘Stories, by Barry Lee Thompson’, 2013.