Thursday, January 26, 2012

Type. Window. Comprehend

When The Fate Scheduler died, he didn’t expect to find what he found. Of course, he didn’t expect to die in the first place, nor was he The Fate Scheduler at that time. He was merely a normal type of guy of an average age, living by himself after a difficult divorce and mostly bumping along the bottom trying to stay out of everyone’s way. He’d learned over the course of his life that he was happy and content to be by himself; not having to contend with the drama that comes from having people with their messy problems and issues complicating his neat and orderly existence. In fact, one of the primary reasons his ex wife cited for why she left him was that he reminded her too much of Felix Unger, the fastidious and somewhat prissy character from that old TV show “The Odd Couple”. He took somewhat offense at this as, although he was known to be a bit on the compulsive side when it came to cleanliness (whether it be his person or his surroundings), he did not view himself as prissy. Then again, she likely didn’t view herself as a bulldog, either; which is what he thought of whenever he saw her. This, and an overwhelming feeling of self-reproach. Not because their marriage had failed, but because he’d married her in the first place.

After he died, he was surprised to discover that he didn’t remember dying. He’d been standing in his small galley type kitchen in his compact one bedroom apartment looking through his collection of cookbooks, of which he had many. He’d been searching for one in particular, the one given to him by a co-worker last year at his company’s annual holiday party and gift exchange. Normally, he walked away from this exchange with something he considered to be pretty much useless; a huge bottle of some offense smelling aftershave, a quite horrid sweater (this turned out to be an unexpected bonus when he wore it to an Ugly Sweater Contest one of his few friends had, in July of all months, and won a $50 gift card to Barnes and Noble), a box of stale Girl Scout Cookies and a collection of Christmas Tree ornaments which had the appearance of being made by either the giver’s three year old child or their dog, he couldn’t decide which. But, this particular time, he’d received the cookbook from her; one he could and would actually use as it replaced one he’d utilized so often that it had completely fallen apart.

It was interesting, he’d been musing right before he died, that someone he barely knew had somehow known what he’d most appreciate. Thankfully, thankfully; he’d not drawn her name in return as he would not have been as astute. Instead, he'd picked an office secretary who was kind enough to him and he’d spent sufficient time talking to in the break room to guess she’d appreciate a box of Godiva chocolates.

What did he know of her, this cookbook bestower? Only these few things: She sat in a cubicle next to a window several rows from his own. He found himself thinking of her at odd and random moments, despite the fact that he’d hardly spoken to her. Her ability to pick out the perfect gift was a wonderful thing about her that he did not fully comprehend. He didn’t think of her by her name but, rather, by her aroma; The Girl Who Smelled Of Pine.

1 comment:

Mr. B said...

This one is good and I'm remember you reading this to me. And I know that I read it again before busy season and thought that I had commented on this, but the comment isn't here!

Can't remember now exactly what the comment was, but I know that it was something to do with the Fate Scheduler and working him into the short stories.