An earthen view that rolls out for miles beyond faculty of sight: that was what a slivered piece of his heart had always wanted, always craved, always yearned for from where he grew up in a skyscrapered city that bumbled with industrial mutters and clutter. That piece of his heart used to project imagines of a minimalist space within which he would thrive on the satiation of necessity for, as it was, his personal existence held no purpose for the commercial embellishments of a commotive city. His heart and he himself have always housed an appreciation for things simple in their beauty and beautiful in their simplicity.
He now often wonders if such emerged from that urban barrage of fast-heavy-excess-mayhem proven inevitable when one lived in a large city as he and his mother had. Unlike him, she lived life on her toes, always ready to swivel or adjust or float or fly; his mother was always waiting on the brink of motion. When life tilted, she skewed herself to the same angle and pressed further forward while he would fall so hard, it’d bruise his side. He could only jog after her hurried strides for so long; his mother could only stand still for so long; two juxtaposed paths could only run parallel for so long.
He never quite developed the stamina to keep up with his mother and the distance between them only ever seemed to grow— she was always two or three laps ahead of him, though he supposes that’s good for her and her health.
Still, it seemed highly possible that his mother was the only company he would ever find prolongedly tolerable. Even if she thought differently of him.
Aware of such, that slivered piece of his heart would imagine that he’d live alone; less than he disliked such, more so because natural presences were less likely to float or fly away. Just as well, the folding, rolling hills and meadows he witnessed on every distant road travel were always more alive than most any sentient life he had encountered. There were things he knew they knew and he wanted, craved, yearned to partake in that existential knowance.
And, briefly, he had received that indulgence until he… well, until she ran past him so fast, kicking dirt up into his eyes, that his direction got blurred— until he got disorientated from a particularly sharp slant of life, until something akin to defeat pushed into his chest and, with fresh bruises on his side, he moved back to the skyscrapered city where he’s still stumbling.
From where he now sits, with his crooked-knuckled hands poised above his faded-lettered keyboard, and his fatigued gaze drooping across the flickering screen of his monitor, he bitterly swats the thought away.
His name is Taefed Ekuber. He has a corner office on the top third floor and always remembers to spare gratitude for small mercies, such as his corner office on the top third floor. There are two permanently grimy windows that only open three inches (he measured) and that give way for dusty sunlight to drift in when the sun cares enough to shine through the smog. Whenever Taefed is in here at work, he nudges open the two windows to their full three inches and he pretends that the air pulling in isn’t fuzzy but fresh.
He pretends it’s all fresh.
There isn’t much to see when he meanders over to the window and peers through the begrimed panes; there are buildings— a lot of buildings. And a lot of gray and a lot of motion and a lot of hollow-echoy murmurs, but really no view worth viewing.
The day is Wednesday, which means apple cider donuts in the break room at lunch. A coworker makes them, his name is Shor. His family, the Tenings, are looking to found a confectionary or dessert shop.
Taefed supposes that’s good for them.
Wednesdays are good for the whole office. Thursdays, not so much; corporate requests a commissions report every Thursday, throws every department into a frenzy. Fridays, though, are good for everyone again, especially Taefed since they’re the last business day of the week.
This upcoming Friday makes the eleventh week of which a Letter of Resignation has remained burrowed away in the bottom right drawer of his desk. He thinks about the letter an awful lot.
He wants to turn it in. He has, obviously, not because he shouldn’t— his job is good for him. But he wants to, he definitely does.
Taefed wants to turn in that letter so that he can stop wearing ties. Unrestricted, maybe then he’ll be able to move, to really move and he could close that three lap gap.
Taefed looks down to the bottom right desk drawer he hardly noticed he’d opened.
He realizes that it’s just about time to go for his walk. He usually just laps around the office building twice or thrice before returning to his corner office on the top third floor. Walks are good for him. He takes one every day both to wheedle in a bit of movement and, if he’s being wholly honest, to give himself an outside moment to think about just why he has not yet shredded that letter. Taefed goes on his walks typically expecting the letter to overtake his mind, especially when he hovers beneath the birds’ tree.
One of his office windows faces to the front of the building; the tree is beside it. In that tree are two birds. The older one, the mother bird, is rarely ever in the three, really. The young bird, though, hardly leaves and, as it seems, thoroughly enjoys the sound of its own chirps. The young bird likes to chatter— about the view from way up in that tree, most likely.
Taefed always pauses to greet the young bird.
The day is Wednesday and Taefed’s stomach is lightly full on apple cider donuts and, no neglection from his quotidian activities, he greets the young bird. The young bird cheeps back.
Taefed always returns to his corner office on the top third floor feeling a bit softer than when he stepped outside.
Before he resituates himself in his wilting rolling office chair, he usually finds himself squatting beside the bottom right drawer of his desk and wondering about his indecision. He wonders if he were to turn it in— and that’s with a heavy emphasis on the hypothetical— if it would give him the confidence to stand a little taller. On his toes, perhaps. He wonders: would he feel, in some manner, vindicated or would the feeling lean closer towards liberation, would it feel like flying?
A tweet twitters in a slow echo from the tree-tops just above his window— a quick chirp of a sound— a snick or a click, then silence… then the leaves are rustling, rustling and shuffling, with the feathery soft beating of wings. Another chirp— pitchy almost, though not unpleasant, then the teeny bob of the young bird’s head pokes out of a branch gap. Just as hastily, it retreats back into obscurity. Then pops out again, then pulls back in.
Taefed wonders if any birds would have dotted the horizon of the earthen view, rolling out for miles beyond faculty of sight…
He decides that he has far too much work to finish up to be wasting time ruminating this.
Although, with a small quirk of a gently-pleased smile— a rare occurrence in this office— he can’t refrain from thinking, yes, they would have.
The consideration and the moment’s before buzz persistently at the forefront of his mind for the rest of the work day’s duration. Taefed can’t determine if it would be best to increase the distance between him and the thought or to pull it close, into a sturdy embrace where the thought cannot escape. A nice comprise that is good for him and good for the thought, is to hold on for a few hours until quittin’ time. He holds on, steadily but loosely until, thirteen buildings up the road, the chapel tower clock chimes five o’clock and Taefed is free to leave.
He stretches, stands up, stretches some more, then shuffles over to close the two, permanently grimy windows, then returns to his chair.
A brief downward glance to the right and another, slightly wider quirk of a gently-pleased smile and Taefed assures himself that three laps are surmountable— that it was all so very simple.
Taefed packs up his belongings. Taking everything to his car takes two or three trips.
As he is leaving his office and walking to his car the last time, he notes that the air is more silent than most other nights. Dismissing it, he ducks to climb into his car. But with one leg tucked under the steering wheel and his left hand gripping the top of the vehicle, he pauses.
He can’t hear the young bird. Or rather, the young bird isn’t making any noise. Or rather, the young bird has flown off as its mother would so frequently do.
Taefed ducks into this car the rest of the way.
Wednesday means light traffic on the highway. Although, tonight, Taefed is going to take the back roads home, the roads that swivel and float along fields and farms and wrap themselves around an earthen view that rolls out for miles beyond sight.
As he wiggles the knot of his pinstriped green tie away from his throat and tosses it over his shoulder into the backseat, Taefed muses over just how good for him this fresh evening is. He can’t wait to move, to really move.