A Case of Joy in Isolation

   The silhouette of a woman walks out of an apartment door, a suitcase is with her but it could be mistaken for a bag. A man stares at his computer hyper-focused, a few seconds pass me lets out a: “Have a good day!” he doesn’t look away from the screen. The light from the room fades and the light from the laptop screen becomes brighter and brighter against his face. An alarm goes off, 7:00 PM, “GO TO WORK.” The man shut his laptop, grab his keys, feeds his dog and leaves.
   Dog food clumsily falling into a bowl before he goes to his room and falls on his bed. He wakes up, he feeds the dog again, boils water, checks note on fridge saying “had to go into work early,” takes the dog out, makes coffee, grabs a book and reads it until he hears the alarm again 7:00 PM. He looks to his roommate’s door but there’s only a dark low vacuous hum, no movement.
   He goes to work, he gets home, he feeds the dog, and looks through the fridge. He finds an old sandwich there’s no mold around the edge he cuts it off eats the rest falls asleep on the couch. The dog is with him when he wakes up. He takes the dog out, does the dishes, cooks eggs, toast pops out of the toaster. He plays video games for the rest of the day. The alarm goes off, he goes to work.
   He gets back home, feeds the dog talks to it: “You know Bubbz, I’m getting real tired of being alone. You’re the only one ever home. It’s really starting to get to me.” The dog looks up licking its lips. Eric calls his girlfriend Mary but gets no answer.
Afterwards, he tries his roommate Shane, also absent, also doesn’t pick up. Eric looks back to the dog: “I’m gonna call mom tomorrow, she’ll know what to do.” He goes to sleep.  He’s woken up by the sound of a door slamming, he runs to check it but nothing’s changed, the apartment is still. He checks his roommate’s door and jiggles the nob – its locked. “Must have been one of the neighbors.” He says to the dog.
  He calls his mother while playing with the dog.
“Hey Mom”
“Eric! Honey, it’s so good to hear from you. How is everything?”
“Not too good mom, I haven’t seen either Mary or Shane in the last few days. Not sure if
it’s just our hours are lining up or what.”
“Oh honey, you know, I never like that Mary, always so dramatic. And that Shane, oof, such a bad influence.”
“Oh don’t start mom, don’t talk about them like that.”
“Alright, alright. Im just being realistic Poo-Bear. I thought you didn’t like her that much in the first place…”
“That’s not the point mom, she’s an alright girl.”
“Do you even love the girl Eric?”
“Yeah, I guess… yeah… yeah I do! You know what? I’m sure Mary is just busy with her new promotion and I’m over exacerbating the whole thing”
“Bullshit. I don’t like the sound of that Hun. I don’t like these new hours either you never visit. you should get out more too while you’re at it.”
“Thanks mom, as reassuring as always.”
“Come visit me soon honey. I get lonely here, ok?”
“OK mom, I love you.”
“Love you too hun, bye.”
   Eric put down the phone, his arms fall to the couch cushion.  He let out a long and obnoxious grown. He tilts his head to stare at Shane’s door and it makes the same noise as before. Eric sighs and goes for the door knob again, still locked. He knocks on the door “Hey Shane you in there man?!” No answer, just silence. Eric sits straight on the couch and stares forward until the alarm goes off again he goes to work.
   Eric gets home he feeds the dog. He eats. They both stare at the door until Eric wants to sleep. Eric wakes up to the silhouette of a person under the bed sheets. It was the dog and a few pillows conjoined, masquerading as a woman in his bed. Eric was surprised initially but that soon faded.
   They leave the bedroom “Alright I’m gonna do it…” Eric says, the dog boofs in agreement. Eric picks the lock and opens the door. The room is bare, there are no clothes or sheets just a discarded bed and desk. On top of the desk is a bright white envelope that says “Eric.”  He opens it to find the letter reads:
        Me and Mary left for Paris, we aren’t coming back.
        Have a good life.
                – Shane.
   Bubbz looks up to Eric with concerned eyes and whimpers.  Eric drops the note back on the desk. He glides to couch and sits motionless, checking out for the time he has left in his day. Bubbz grabs a toy and sits on Eric’s lap, chewing on it. The alarm goes off. he fills the dogs bowl with food, he goes to work.
   Eric and Bubbz are sitting at a café. The sun is shining, it’s a cool autumn afternoon. Bubbz whimpers and Eric comforts him by petting his head. A woman is walking by Eric pulls down his sunglasses to get a better look at her. She turns around and ends up at a nearby table. Their eyes meet and she smiles at him. The dog looks up at him inquisitively and huffs. Eric looks back to Bubbz and says “Everything’s gonna be alright Bubberz.” He pats some give him part of his biscotti and continues to read his book.
   “Some people need the excitement of life to be spontaneous and full of passion, these are people who can afford to dream. To dream of city lights and ancient chardonnay. Their lives are a series of cinematic, choreographed moments. Trips to foreign lands full of exotic foods and good coffee. These kind need it all, constant stimuli, a never-ending waterfall of treasures and dopamine, stolen from the world and kept in a museum of their mind. Most don’t have that luxury; most people have neither the time nor the money to make these shows play out. Their dreams are of making every payment on time and food three times a day. These people, most of them, do and will just simply exist. Once someone can come to terms with that, they can start to live… and live happily.”

Bubberz didn’t understand what his master said but he loved him anyways.


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