The day was so dark it hardly felt like the day. The Internet was down again, a desperate feeling over the house, something was off. He talked to the man about a job, talked to him through a text message, but the man said tomorrow was better to talk. So he tore the Christmas tree from its perch and carried it out the front door like a disobedient child, something he loved once but was OK handling this way now, its time had come.
Done with chores for the day and warming lunch, a beer came on like a light inside his head and he reasoned it was OK, would help him nap, was the kind of thing he couldn’t do if he was working, and why not.
The beer was an unfiltered IPA from the Oregon coast, a dark, sorrowful place called Astoria. The kind of place that looks like it could be cute from a distance but when you get there, it’s not.
He wasn’t sure what it meant, to be unfiltered, but it was clear by looking at it there were bits of yeast and flotsam floating from the bottom of the can collecting in a fine film on the bottom of the glass, rocking side to side.
When he got to the bottom he was aware of the chunks floating there and often left a little in the glass but probably swallowed the parts he was trying to avoid; he left a little in the bottom of the glass to show that he could, he was well aware of it.
After tearing the tree out there were needles everywhere but rather than using the vacuum he swept them with a brush and picked them up one by one, by hand. It was less the act of having a clean house and more the act of cleaning it that felt right.
Unemployed, it was time to get down to the nitty gritty of the house and all its small corrections: a red mark in the bathroom at eye level by the toilet that looked like a blood stain but wasn’t, easier to just leave there than to clean up.
He started to communicate on deeper levels with his dog through eye exchanges and parts of his ears he allowed her to explore. He thought there was something in the way the dog curled up and kept sleeping perhaps he should pay attention to.
So he reread two chapters from a book and started a list of all the words he didn’t know from it: Avers, Wen, Presbyopic, Ideogram, Enfilade, Magisculed. The Internet was down and he didn’t feel like getting the dictionary out, it took too long. The phone rang but he didn’t go for it because no one of consequence knew the number. He resolved to writing at least one hour a day and not on the Internet because it wasn’t real writing, it was a kind of touching oneself that never amounted to much, just felt good in the moment. But when it came back up he went for it so he could feel like he’d done something, shipped.
When the night fell they were all relieved and climbed into bed and the calendar hung in the kitchen in the dark with the microwave lights, waiting to be noticed come morning.