Free Web Counter
Web Counters

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Disclaimer: Unlike most of the content here, this is a work of fiction.

Shoe Leather

He leaned over the sink to wash the shaving lotion from his neck. He had nicked himself in there somewhere with the new razor blade. If he wiped the blood away, a half-inch long thin line of red would appear magically in the same spot, the blood eventually mingling with drops of water and white lotion and trickling down his neck in a watery pink rivulet. It didn’t hurt. He straightened up and felt something pop and tighten in his back. He grimaced and stretched. Then sighed.

"At 16, it’s like shoe leather!" the aging orthopedic specialist said with enthusiasm. "Tough, thick, couldn’t saw through it with a knife. But by the time you’re 75 your rotator cuff is like wet cardboard." He pointed again with his pen to the x-ray image. "The structure in your shoulder is perfect. Nothing wrong there. The soft tissues of course aren’t going to show up on an X-ray so we wouldn’t see any problems on this." he said, tapping his pen rapidly on the image. He glanced at the chart again. "You’re too young to be having rotator cuff problems. But then again, you’ve got all the symptoms. We can give you a cortisone shot today if you want. If it’s not better after a few weeks, come back and see me."

"Too young." That’s what he always heard. "The doctor has my info on the chart, so he ought to realize I’m nearly 40." he thought to himself as he pulled off his t-shirt and sat on the examination table to wait for the injection. "Maybe that is too young."

He was cursed or blessed with a face that made him look at least ten years younger than he was. He was getting some flecks of grey in his hair, especially at the temples, but he still had a thick head of hair. It was a sandy brown color that hid the grey strands until they lay across his lap on the barber shop shroud. There they would lie like casualties mixed in with the brown and blond strands, stark white and stilled and suddenly evident against the black backdrop.

It had been a while since the last time he was carded buying alcohol, but not that long. He’d reached his 35th birthday the last time it happened. Still, all this youthful external appearance seemed only to exacerbate the internal effects of what he felt to be his rapidly aging body. Back. Hip. Knee. Now shoulder. Ulcers. Colon. Sinuses. Circulation. Digestion. He was never athletic in his youth and was now coming to terms with the fact that his window had closed. Permanently.

Arching his back by the sink, trying to work the early morning kinks out, it was his 8th and 9th vertebrae that were acting up this day. I know that not because I’m a doctor, but because I’m a narrator.

Do you know what narrators are? I don’t mean the type of answer you’d give in freshman English 101 or even a graduate level literary theory class. I mean in reality. We’re the deceased souls of characters, endowed at the instant of our deaths with photographic memories. We’re frozen in time and stuck in limbo tell we get someone to tell our stories. We don’t age anymore, because we’re ancient. We don’t die because we’re already dead. We’re two dimensional and always stand at right angles to reality, so we’re too thin to be seen, but you can hear our whisperings if you learn how to listen.

You want proof? Go to a library. You don’t think you humans are creative enough to do all that on your own do you?


Post a Comment

<< Home