the man, the glasses, and the oranges

What should I tell you about him? I could tell you how he’s aged, or maybe I could tell you about the time he broke two of his fingers? I could tell you about all the books he never read to the end, or (hah) I could tell you about the books that he did finish. In either case, there’s nothing I could tell you that you wouldn’t be able to see for yourself.

It’s 6AM and the alarm clock just started to ring. He’s a bit confused, unsure of whether this is the right time to get up. His first priority, however, is to stop the annoying sounds of the time telling machine. He reaches out with his hand, starts to feel his way to the clock and in doing so he knocks over his glasses. He looks in the clock’s direction now and all the numbers are blurry. Every morning starts off blurry. This morning is particularly dark.

He manages to find the button that silences the clock but is unable to find his glasses. It is too dark and blurry. Maybe they fell between some secret cracks? He just can’t seem to find them. He remembers that he has a spare pair in the washroom drawer. It is dark and it does not occur to him that he could switch the lights on. Instead he feels his way into the hall way and stumbles into the washroom.

He turns on the lights. This was not a conscious decision. Though the situation had warranted light, he did so purely out of instinct. It was simply a matter of fact: you enter the washroom and you turn on the lights. Everything in that moment turned brighter yet remained blurry. He catches his reflection in the washroom mirror and it causes him to pause. The blurry reflection took him to a moment some 30 years ago. For a split instant he saw a clear reflection of himself as he was some 30 years ago. He quickly recollects himself. He makes a frowning facial expression and shrugs off the moment. This is no time for musings of past. The world is blurry and that must be undone.

There are three drawers. Is it in the first? the second? or the third? I should open all of them, but not all at once. That would defeat the purpose. This is no time for thought. Thinking slows down the process. Just act. He finds the glasses in the second drawer without needing to open the third. As he puts the glasses on he forgets that he couldn’t find his other pair, as if this was his only one, as if he had never lost anything. He does remember that he needs to pick up groceries and other items. He proceeds to get dressed with a better grasp of the world than he had when he woke up.

He stands on the subway platform as the train approaches. Everyone on the platform takes a step forward in anticipation. He picks up his grocery bags from the floor and enters the train. This is his daily mode of transport, the subway lines are life lines that connect him to the city. The bags he’s carrying make his movement slow. The rushing crowd occupy all the seats, like it were a gold rush. He finds a place to stand as comfortably as he can.

He feels a tug on his jacket. A young boy (a teenager perhaps?), feeling a little sheepish, stands up and offers his seat. He looks the boy in the eyes with a smile that spells a blessing. He accepts the offer. He places one bag on his lap and the rest on the subway car floor.

In what almost seems like a ritual, he starts to take out items he’s purchased one by one and spend time with them. He takes out the apple juice carton and runs his hand across it, as if he were searching for a memory or hoping that one would be created. He replaces the juice carton and repeats the procedure with toothpaste.

He then reaches down and takes out a bag of oranges. He removes a single orange from the bag of oranges. He spins the orange on his palm and then grips it tight to stop the spin, still holding the bag of oranges in his other hand. The train comes to a screeching halt. His grip protects the singular orange, but the bag of oranges falls to the floor. One after another the oranges leave the bag and start to roll out in a line. Not a perfect line, but there’s enough of a pattern.

All the heads in the subway car follow the oranges the length of the distance.

9 thoughts on “the man, the glasses, and the oranges”

  1. hmmmm, i think all of them read like screenplays. i’m not sure if it’s an effect or a side effect.

    everything is described as happening in the moment, and there are no names used. and it is simply a collection of scenes in my mind.

    but also probably because i don’t know many other ways to write. =)

  2. I enjoyed the imagery. The way it’s written you can see everything in your mind, especially the oranges rolling in the train.

    Also this line was beautiful: “He looks the boy in the eyes with a smile that spells a blessing.”

    Thank you for sharing!

  3. Very well written. Few words were used so well like ‘time telling machine’ or ‘Every morning starts off blurry’ or ‘ secret cracks?’

    I am not sure how but get little better end….

    Aik baat kahun, Aadmi kamal ke ho tum!
    Shadi naa kerna, barbad ho jao ge tum !

  4. My descriptive writing teacher would be so proud of you, Adnan. I lived every moment of your narrative, especially since every morning is also a blur for me, looking for my glasses that I carelessly drop somewhere the night before.

    Though I really enjoyed what you wrote, part of me wanted more story. My curiosity is not satiated, I don’t know the character as wells I’d like. Though I realize you wanted that effect.

    Also Mystics comment on the end is hilarious.

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