Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The worst that could happen

The worst that could happen

“What is the worst that could happen,” he said to himself. With his finger on the button, the phone in his hand, he muttered those words. He wished he was brave—no, that’s not quite it—bellicose and confident, like a barker selling wares. He’d roar throughout the town, telling all what he needs. They would listen, he’d be sure. He’d get what he wants.

But, alas that is not him. He is no assertive fool. For him, life is peace and simple contentment. At times he whispers, “ a monk, I could be”.

“Life is for the taking. Grab the brass ring.” These sayings, and others, rang through his head. The voices kept telling him, that people achieve, aspire, produce. “Gung ho”, and “full steam ahead”, so the voice-in-his-head commanded.

He’d put it off as long as he could, finding anything to do—a drain that needs unclogged; a floor that needs swept. The hour was late. He wanted to stop.

“Tomorrow”, he thought, “I could do it well, then”. But he knew that was wrong, that the time was right, now. He had to at least try, or he’d sleep badly tonight. Then, in the morning he feel so tired, that, instead of the task, he’d roll back asleep.

Under the covers, away from the world, is a place that he regretfully likes. He’d been there before—escape was his friend. The world did not need him—he’d just simply retire, to a life of boredom disguised as independence. No one he needed, for they all get in the way.

But that is no life, that he wanted to have. So, back to the man with the phone in his hand, dialing a number to change his world. Slowly, as if about to announce the death of a child, the numbers were dialed. The phone began to ring.

Then all of a sudden a voice answered, not grouchy, or grim, but mellow and kind. He now had to speak, perhaps it’ll not be so bad. “what’s the worst that could happen”, he thought to himself.

The talk was fine. He stuttered a little, but no comment was made, no faux pas announced. The task was not done, for he promised to follow-up—to call again—to keep in touch. It seemed the thing to say.

What the worst that could happen? Who knows? It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad, the call that he made. He had done it, finally, and at last. The start of new things, or just a brief change, that question may be the worst aspect yet.