As We Know It

flash5

  I was in a Chili’s in Regina when it went down. The one on Victoria. I’d gotten up from my chicken quesadillas and – maybe this should have taken precedent – my girlfriend to relieve myself. "Hurry back," she’d said with a smile, pretending to go for my abandoned food. It wasn’t a long walk to the bathroom, I got a little lost on the way though and the journey resounds in my head as a trek worthy of the title. I’d sidled impatiently past a waiter coming out of the kitchen carrying a tray full of clinking glasses of coke, not knowing he’d be the last person I’d see in a very long time.

  I pushed open the door to the empty washroom unceremoniously. Every action I can muster a memory of reiterates my ignorance to what was about to happen. The music inside the bathroom – the same music that was playing in the restaurant – was loud, something I recognized, knew the words to even, but couldn’t name. I hummed along as I stood in front of the urinal, waiting an ordinate amount of time before my body said enough, I’m done. As I was washing up there was a loud crash – loud enough to punctuate the track that was reaching a crescendo of its own within the white ceramic prison I stood in. At the exact same moment the light above flickered, briefly, and for that split second I was plunged into the solace of a perfect dark something flickered inside me, too. I don’t know what it was, maybe I never will, but it was as if my heart – no – my existence skipped a beat. Of course I didn’t know any of this. The lights came back and I thought it was indigestion and nothing more.

  I waited for the cheer of patrons and staff alike at their colleague’s fumble, but none came. No clapping or whooping. I dried my hands quickly, the song dying to a fade overhead before the next one kicked in, and I thought it strange – my first recognition of something amiss – that the bustle of the diner outside had quietened so considerably. I opened the door to the empty tables and bundles of clothes and aprons and the discarded tray and smashed cokes and found myself not afraid but sceptical. A telling truth of the human condition if there ever was one. As my head tried to wrap itself and lend logic to this abnormal paradox of the possible I stepped out, into the new world as fresh and dumb as a babe from the womb, never to be the same again.

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~ by Joseph Blame on January 30, 2011.

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