The Strange Presence of a Man

Every morning he awakes in a strange home, he showers in a strange bathroom, he brushes his teeth and shaves the face of a strange person, there is something recognizable about the guy staring back at him through the mirror, as though he’d known him a long time ago. He makes his coffee and eats his breakfast and goes to work. He spends 8 to 10 hours a day working at the same place he has for the last 16 years. When the business day is over, he gets into the same car he’s driven for years and travels a strange route to the strange home he goes to sleep in every night.

When he remembers things, when he smells certain things that spark echoes of experiences past, the feelings attached to those echoes, seem different, they seem almost false, like they belong to someone else. As he gets out of his car and walks to the strange mail box to get his mail, his shadow keeps step, but it is only reminiscent of his self, even his shadow seems strange. When he lies down at night, in his huge strange bed, as he closes his strange eyes he begins to dream, in which he is always standing at the helm of a small ship, like a long sailboat. He stands gripping the cold teak wheel in his hands that never feel strange in his dreams. Looking out over the bow of his craft, he can’t see through the thick fog, as he glances side to side now and again he catches glimpses of shoreline both port and starboard but never fore and aft.

In his dreams he never questions where he is going, he just keeps moving, and the fog collects on his cheeks and rolls down his neck in clean, translucent droplets before soaking into his shirt collar. The only sound being that of the otherwise still, quiet water as it washes along the hull of his boat and forms a settling wake off the stern. There is an air of patient excitement for what lies ahead in the cool, bright, enveloping whiteness, and as he turns to look back there is an unsettling notion of darkness that stains the fog left behind. There is no strangeness here on this vessel; there is no pain, no sadness, and no loneliness. There is just present time, an existential existence, a sentiment of being present for the sake of it.

And so he dreams, and when he wakes, he opens his strange eyes, sits up and stands at the window and looks out at the strange tree in the backyard. There is no boat, no vessel to quietly drift upon, and as strange noises slowly collect in his ears, so does pain and loneliness and fear followed by desire, and hope and a sense of wonder and desperation.

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