This One Time, 106

This one time I was sitting quietly, eyes closed, listening but not paying attention, breathing but not making a chore out of it. My room wasn’t particularly dark or quiet, but that hadn’t mattered in a long time to me. This wasn’t any kind of meditation. It was just sitting quietly. Killing momentum.

Sometimes it seems that all we want to do is zoom around as fast as we can, focused on what we want and where we want to be, always in such a hurry that we take shortcuts that don’t work or overshoot and have to turn around, orbiting in tighter and tighter circles until we can finally make a grab…. It’s often not a waste of time at all to stop completely, face our desires, walk straight at them, and pick them up. But in order to do that, you have to learn to stop. You have to learn what being stopped feels like.

Also, momentum is baggage. And vice versa. If you really want to move quickly, it’s best not to have all that extra weight.

The noises in the hallway seemed pretty insistent but it was easy enough to not let them distract me. Nothing was really required of me until the door was open. Unless I was silly enough to get up and open it, nothing would bring that moment before it was time. But I should be ready for when the moment came.

I got up and went to the coat tree. I selected a light jacket and shrugged it on, then took my raincoat and draped it over my head and shoulders. Then I simply stood at the coat tree and waited.

The door took a couple of kicks to open, and then two men came through the door. One charged past me to look into the living room, then a bit further to get a glimpse of the kitchen. The second man edged past me and the coat tree. As I took one big step toward the door, I let the raincoat slip to the floor at the base of the coat tree, a distraction that would look like something they themselves had caused. The second man lunged at the empty coat for the split second it took to realize what it was and fool himself as to what had happened, and then I was through the door behind them.

I rounded the corner and slumped down the stairs. At a normal pace, I went out through the front doors. Sure enough, there was a car running with a guy sitting in it parked not too far away. He was watching the door, so I just walked up to the car and motioned for him to roll down the window. “Yeah?” he said.

“Your friends in there, they said they were going to be a while talking to the guy in B4. They told me to give you this and ask you to go pick up something to eat.” I tossed a twenty into the passenger seat.

He at least waited for me to go back into the building before he drove off. After he rounded the corner, I counted to ten and went back outside. I crossed the street to the deli and got the attention of the guy behind the counter. “What can I get for you, boss?” he asked.

“I don’t need anything right now, but I could use a favor. There are a couple of guys tossing my apartment right now. Could you call 911 for me?”

He offered me the phone, but I waved it away. “I don’t really need to talk to them right now, but, hell, you can kind of see them through my window up there. They think I’m in there playing hide-and-seek. Just see if you can get ’em to bring a cruiser to catch them as they come out of the building. When they come talk to you, tell them you’ll tell me to drop by the 41st when I come in for my afternoon smokes coming home from work.”

“You smoke?” he asked.

I shrugged. “Thinking about starting. Maybe I need another vice now that I’ve stopped drinking. I owe you. You know where to find me when you need something.”

“How much trouble you in?”

I put another twenty on the counter. “How much trouble is the world in, Ayet? Whatever that is, it’s just a tiny slice of that.”

He handed over a pack of Camels and a book of matches. “If you’re gonna be smoking by this afternoon, you’re gonna need some practice.”

I smiled and stuck the cigs and matches in my pocket. “Thanks, Ayet. See you soon.”

And then I walked a quarter mile to the park to sit and do some thinking. I got there just in time to see some huge bat-thing swoop down and eat some poor dog’s tennis ball and fly away.


April 16, 2011 · by xalieri · Posted in This One Time  


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