The New Top.


The garment was well designed, as clothing would go. Horizontal, fruity hues, a flat floral motif superimposed. It followed her around, like dress did, demurely, as she moved about transferring boxes of gifts prepared to be wrapped. He was annoyed by it. Something else begging to be noticed in his meticulously normalized life.

He told her she looked nice.

Her kids were gathered about the kitchen island, heads elevated, eyes downcast, awaiting their cues to begin, too old now for Santa. Too many cookies had been baked, decorated, and eaten already, blood sugar clearly in descent. He was annoyed, again. The trip in from the city had been a slog, and he’d wanted to remain to address loose ends. Holidays always threw a kink in it.

This year, admittedly, had been different. He knew his perceptions did not exist in a vacuum. Perception. Craving the integration of mutual experience, ultimately – at least by way of reaction. Reluctantly, he’d acquiesced to the reality that even he could not control the scene into which all mankind had been thrust. Perception must yield to perspective. Yet, feeling his vitals stir, he was also unable to ignore that the whole thing had revived a nagging, indefinable need manifesting in increasing restlessness of mind and, now, body. Where were the salad tongs, for the last time, and why was the countertop not cleared for food prep? He wanted to go back and just start over. He was aging way before his time.

The family was mercifully stable. At least, presently. This was to his credit, wasn’t it? He’d appeared, provided, fulfilled expectations, been reliable. But, this year, gathering had been omitted. Festivity always created the scene in which relative value found definition. Years prior, there would always be a prospect, deliciously absent, the object of subconscious reference as he moved about those in any attendance. Anticipation, the driver of all realization, fueled his action; he could make anyone feel welcome at the party, with the unacknowledgeable waiting elsewhere in his wings.

This year, there would be no cloaking convocation. He felt exposed in his own kitchen. Familiarity had lost its comforting luster. Every crumb in the sink was a pebble in his path. He wanted to set a fire somewhere and breath deeply of its choking smoke.

Normalcy. Vastly overrated. In one fluent strike, he pierced the stainless steel basin with the point of a carver, wiped his forearms of residual moisture, turned, and walked out of the room, heading down the narrow hall and out the door. What he sought was calling him, and this time he could clearly hear.







© 12/24/2020 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights those of the author, whose name appears above this line. No copying in part or whole, including translation, without signed permission. Sharing by blog link, exclusively. Thank you for your respect of original material.

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