Richard G. Henry
Copyright 1999 Richard G. Henry
Kathy awoke quietly to the soft patter of rain on the
window. In the few moments before gaining full consciousness
Kathy wondered what the sound was that she was hearing. Kathy
quickly realized it was the rain, again. Again it was raining.
Kathy could not believe it was still raining. It had rained for
three weeks straight without so much as a day with sunshine. She
normally enjoyed the rain, its cool cleanliness washing away
some of the grime. She liked the way it muted all the colors and
sounds of the normally garish city. Kathy lay in bed longer
than normal. She felt a sense of deep loss but she did not know
why. It was less a premonition than a subtle feeling of being
out of balance. Being slightly out of tune, like a piano. Kathy
felt wrong but she did not know why. She stared blankly up at
the ceiling, listening the quiet patter of rain against her
window. Slowly she looked around the room. She was looking for
something to hold onto, something she recognized. Everything was
there as usual, everything was normal. She turned her head over
the other direction and looked at the picture of her boyfriend
Scott. She sighed. She could hear the sounds of the outside
world as it rumbled to life. Horns, diesel busses grinding up
the steep hills of the city. Her body felt heavy under the
covers. She felt like jumping into a cold shower, anything to
shake off this weird feeling that kept her lying in bed.
Suddenly Kathy felt nauseous. Not the sickness that comes
with flu but an unsettling that comes when life asks you a
question you r not prepared to answer. The question had rumbled
within her for almost two to three months. Kathy could never put
a finger on it before. She had not brought it up with her
closest friend. She never mentioned it to her sister or to
Scott. It was one of those things that only bothered her when
she was alone. It had come to a had this morning for no real
reason. The night before she had spent with Scott. They went
out to dinner and watched a movie, As they had done hundreds of
times before. The movie had not inspired anything within her.
In fact, it caused the opposite reaction-repulsion.
"That's it!" Kathy said bolting up in bed. "What is it?"
she asked herself falling back into bed. She stared up at the
ceiling again, studying the dry wall patterns. Her head felt
heavy. Her heavy heart weighed down inside her. She felt like
crying but could not find exactly what to cry about.
Kathy was not much of a crier. Her friend Susan was. Cry
at the drop of a hat. They made a good team, her and Susan.
Often she wished she could cry more, to exorcise the ghosts that
recently lurked inside her.
"This is not how I wanted my life to turn out. This is not
where I want to be and I'm not doing what I want!" Kathy mouthed
They stung inside her, burned.
She knew this what had bothered her for the last few months.
It was a terrible realization. She had been out of college for
almost six years. She had been working in her present job for
four years and had been dating Scott for three. Most, in fact
all had gotten married. Her first college roommate had already
had two children.
Her parents would put down her anxiety to jealousy, but
Kathy knew it was not. It was more the loss of direction. The
loss of center. What really stung was the fact that she had let
it gets so out of control. She had allowed events to take over
her life. Promotions at work, falling in love, moving to
better apartments, friend's weddings, and grandparents passing away.
The moment one milestone passed the next one popped up on the
Kathy was a shy woman but her job as a retail buyer really
let her blossom. They gave her all kinds of free clothes, so she
could dress like a fashion model. She loved the work, mostly
because everyone depended on her. Every three months they gave
her a raise. It was almost obscene. She made lots of friends
and got a lot of attention from guys. Of course they were all
gay but she still enjoyed their company, and their attention.
The problem was that she never intended to become a buyer
for a department store. She had taken the job during the
Christmas rush because she walked out of her last job. She leapt
over her eighteen year old supervisor and got into the buying
department. She had no experience but the one thing she did do
was listen to all of her co-workers groan about their
relationships. She was intrigued by people and the way they
carried on and on about their boyfriends or lack thereof.
Everyone loved her. She was the company therapist. She just did
it to be polite.
Kathy felt like running home and hiding in her bed at home.
Her mother would understand? No. She could explain that life
was not fair and that everyone had to work. Kathy could not take
that today. This was a deeper fear, something that would
involve a life change, she knew it, it scared her to death.
Like awaiting results from a doctor; she already knew the answer.
The covers, the room, the job, her parents, her boyfriend,
suddenly everything was constricting, choking the life out of
Kathy was only able to take short breaths. Her chest felt
shallow, almost a void. Her joints were tight her hands were
like claws. She felt like she had just drunk a pot of coffee.
Her nerves were on the edge. She turned her head back and forth,
anything to relieve the despair that racked her bones.
Kathy felt alone like she had never felt alone before. She
could not describe it because she had not been so scared before.
It was like her existence was rejecting her life. Her mind was
geared for a completely different life had she found herself in
this one, one she did not understand or want. the sense of
desperation overtook her. She felt like scratching her eyes out.
She felt like burning her skin, jabbing herself with a needle.
She needed something to prove she was alive. That she was not
dead. Kathy was repulsed at the terrible ideas that screamed at
her through veils of grayness that surrounded her.
It was a confusing mixture of emotions, restless and tired,
angry and confused. unsure of what she was angry at. Kathy did
not know quite what to do. She could call Susan, who would
probably cry. Crying always shifted the burden to Susan. Kathy
did not feeling like being told everything was great. Scott
would listen and say a few kind words but would most likely only
put up with it for a few days. This was part of his charm but
often it left her feeling empty. Not in the sense he did not
value her views, but more that he felt they had dealt with them
and did not want to dwell on things, to make a mountain out of a
molehill, so to speak.
Kathy was alone in this. There was no way out. She could
not change things, they were coming at her to fast. How simple
her life seemed before. Working part time in an art gallery.
Her rent was one hundred and fifty dollars. She had time to read
and hang out. Nothing was taken too seriously. Now suddenly,
every idea seemed different and subversive. Straying from the
norm was suicide. Who were these people she knew now? Who was
this guy Scott? He was not the kind of guy she fell for in
college. Was it too late now? Could she change events? Just
changing jobs could take months. She could quit but the money,
always the money. She was living large now.
She needed out.
Out of the apartment, out of the job, out of her life. It seemed so
radical but some how, some way, it seemed safe. It would be
moving back towards her center.
The place where she was now was not right.
Kathy pulled the curtains up a little and stared out at the
gray rain. The gray sky against the gray buildings. It was so
depressing. From now on everything was different. How could she
face these people whom she had surrounded herself with? They
weren't bad people per say, but just not the people Kathy had
imagined herself with. She imagined literary and artistic types.
discussions of artistic trends and literary movements, instead
she was surrounded by the day to day. parking, weather, rent,
relationships, restaurants, and anything trivial in the news.
How did I get here? Like waking up from a dream Kathy found
herself in a bed of her own making. She allowed events to happen
to her. She had given up the fight. Now she waited for divine
intervention. She dreamed of life but did nothing to change it.
All Works, Paintings, Images, Novels and Stage/Screen Plays & Text. Copyright 1995-2002 Rich Henry.
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(C) 2002 The Rich N' Famous Group