Short Story: Like a Circle in a Spiral

It wasn’t until the door closed that he realised that she had left him and his heart was now broken.  He didn’t move from his chair and instead sifted through the suddenly splintered memories of their life together.  He knew deep in his heart that the break-up was his fault and all he could do was focus on what he could have done differently. 

He didn’t move from his chair.

Dust settled upon his hair, his arms, his lap.  During the day, the sun peeped through the windows doing its best to warm his cold body and on the cloudless nights the moon tried in vain to inspire the man.  The world continued to turn as it rotated throughout the endless universe.  The seasons came and went, one by one, yet the man didn’t move, trapped in his thoughts about the woman he had loved and how he had lost her. 

He stopped paying his rent.  He didn’t return any calls.  People knocked on his door begging them to let him in but by now he was covered in cobwebs and his body was a home for insects and bugs.  By the time someone broke into his home and attempted to connect with him he was so adrift in his mind that he had no idea that anyone was there.  They attempted to lift him from his chair but his thoughts were heavy and his broken heart so shattered it was impossible to find any leverage.  A town meeting was held as concerned citizens wondered what they could do to help the man. 

“What about a crane?” one lady suggested.  This was rejected because of the damage it would do to the surrounding apartments.

“What about a pulley system?” suggested an older gentleman.  This was also rejected because there didn’t appear to be anything strong enough to hold the weight of the man.

“Why won’t he move?” the seamstress asked.

“I hear his love left him,” the town gossip replied.

Everybody nodded solemnly and agreed that there was nothing they could do so they returned home that night thankful to be near their loved ones.

Eventually new problems arose and the townspeople moved their focus and the man was eventually forgotten.  Lost in his thoughts, alone in his room, the only picture in his mind’s eye was his love and how he had lost her.

Over time the block of apartments fell into disrepair and were abandoned.  They couldn’t be fixed and it was agreed that they would eventually have to be knocked down.  All the people the man once knew were long gone and now there was no sympathy for his plight.  The townspeople weren’t even certain that he was still alive.  He was so covered in dirt and soot that he barely made the shape of a man any more.  It was decided that they would have to demolish the building even though he was still inside.

Everyone in the town gathered on the day the building was rigged to explode.  A controlled detonation was in place and the men and women and children stood behind the safety ropes to watch what would happen.  The countdown began. 

10, 9, 8 ,7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. 

A sudden rumble and then boom, the building collapsed in on itself and plumes of smoke reached up into the blue sky as the bricks and mortar fell to the ground.  When the smoke cleared, everyone looked up to find the man, still sitting in his chair, suspended in the sky, thinking of the woman he still loved.

At first the townspeople were at stunned.  Then they threw their hands in the knowledge they had no idea what to do next.  By the time the new building was built, the architects designed a little room that would fit snugly about the man, with a door that could only be opened from the inside in case he one day decided to leave his chair.

Centuries passed and the door never opened.

Eventually the town was abandoned as the people moved to the bigger cities where there was still money to be made.

Meanwhile the man sat in his chair remembering the woman he loved and the mistakes he made that lost her.

Time passed.

Eventually the world was beyond recognition, the tectonic plates had moved to such a degree that it had given the world a make-over.  Humans were long gone and the man was the last person on left on the derelict planet.  The building had collapsed at some point but the man didn’t notice.  He remained suspended in the air, stuck in his chair, lost in his thoughts.  The oceans had risen and covered where the town had once stood.  The light of this new world cast fresh colours across his impassive face.  Great amphibious creatures would pop their large heads out of the water and look up at the man wondering what he was before returning to the depths of the sea.

One day the sun changed from a yellow star to a red star and expanded into the solar system.  Mercury was the first to go and then Venus before the Earth was covered in flames and burnt away from the history of the Milky Way.  Eventually the sun used up its fuel and collapsed in on itself and becoming a dwarf star. 

There in space, sitting on his char, the man sat.  He no longer knew who he was or why he still existed but his anguish over his lost love burned furiously like his long dead sun.  Floating through space he failed to see the stars and the planets that formed about him, the black holes that sucked the light from the sky or the myriad colours that danced amongst the dark energy. 

When the universe cooled, and collapsed into itself, the man continued to exist in a place that was neither real or unreal.  He had passed beyond the realm of myth, a part of the nothingness of this moment, a white page of possibility.

When this raw information exploded, a new universe was created and expanded at such a rate he was hurled far into a new place full of possibility.  A star formed and within its gravity dust swirled and twirled and tumbled until eventually planets were formed.  He found himself on one of these planets, a place bombarded with volcanoes and asteroids and comets. 

All around him life began splitting from single celled organisms into more complex creatures who over time discovered the wheel and how to build crops and the potential of harnessing fire.  These creatures grew into animals who evolved into humans who found one another and formed families that became tribes that became towns that became cities that became countries that became empires. 

The man blinked. 

As time became circular he found himself back in his apartment, sitting in his chair, looking at a woman who cared for him, stood by his side and loved him unconditionally.  Uncertain of what to do next, his panic overwhelmed him but the woman could see the pain and let him be who he had to be. 

Yet even the most loving person can only love so much and there came a day when she couldn’t take any more and decided to leave.  She packed her bags and made her tearful goodbyes and crossed the apartment to the door.

He watched her go, saw her hand rest on the door handle and watched the door open.

He felt an energy in his heart.  He felt the blood rush through his body as his fingers began to twitch, his eyelids began to blink, his mouth began to move.  After a life time in the chair he stood up as the centuries fell from his shoulders.

“I love you!” he cried out, his voice thick with ash, his vocal chords cracked and strained due to a life time of non-maintenance.

She turned around and smiled and in that moment, he knew that if he just talked, everything would be alright.

 

Copyright Justin Hamilton 2017