Thursday, September 20, 2007

You know the beginning, you know the middle, this is how it ends.

Fred woke up in his new apartment and switched off his alarm. The flat was much bigger than he had either use or furniture for, after years with too many things and not enough space, he'd decided to try it the other way around. The only room in the flat that looked busy and lived in was the kitchen. Spacious, not always organized, a well stocked fridge, fresh herbs on the window sill, a generous spice rack, a breakfast bar, a flat panel television in the corner and a radio; Fred spent most of the time in the kitchen. The rest of the place didn't quite seem like home yet.

But it would.

There was a radio in the kitchen, set to 97.7 fm 'tok' radio. Warsaw's first and only talk radio station. Fred kept it on most of the time. Radio gave the place a simulated life. It was the first thing he turned on in the morning and the last thing he turned off at night.

Beginnings were always delicate times.

In the enormous living room, without couch or coffee table, only piles of assorted cushions, Fred spent his hours after work reading or watching television. On the far wall, designed by him and built with the help of his friends, a shelving unit made of a single column of bricks set closer to the floorlength windows and brushed steel beams for shelves radiating across the expanse and into the far wall.

Fred was wounded by such details. At once, they hurt yet felt so good.

Sometimes while in the middle of an exciting scene in a book he was reading, Fred would look up at his bookshelf. Admire how its design belied its strength. It always looked on the verge of falling over, books, shelves, column and wall.

Sometimes when this happened he would say something to himself, his own voice would surprise him.

Few friends knew that Fred, so talkative in company, was silent as a monastery at midnight when alone.

In the evenings, not too late, Fred would turn in. Turning off 97.7 just before he went to bed. In his bedroom there was only a bed. He had resolved that his bedroom would never again have anything in it but a bed. Even though he enjoyed reading tremendously, he had consciously decided not to install a reading light.

In between waking and sleeping, Fred worked of course, and while Fred loved his career this isn't about Fred and his career, This is about Fred and his life.

About how it ends.

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