Ekon sat alone in the dark of his home. He rubbed his calloused and cracked hands across the smooth table. Satisfied with the smoothness of the table, he reached for a bottle and emptied its contents into a glass. He swirled the amber liquid in his glass and a few drops splashed on the floor.
A smooth, well-built floor, he thought as he regarded his handiwork. He placed his glass on the table and stood to retrieve a towel to wipe away the liquid soaking into the wood. He stumbled and steadied himself by gripping the back of the chair he just vacated.
I’ve drunk more than I should’ve.
The shadow of the glass falls across this hand. Knees shaking, he steps toward a closet. He looks over his shoulder at the glass.
One more after… He paused and retrieved a towel from the stacks. He walks to and kneels by the spill. Wiping the blemish away, he looks up to the glass. He reaches and loses his balance, landing on his back. The air in his lungs escapes with a grunt.
What have I become? He closes his eyes and his mind answers the rhetorical question. A drunkard. A failure.
Ekon opens his eyes and his vision is fuzzy on the edges. My head hurts! He reached to rub his temples.
I can’t move! A wave of fear washes over him like the ocean erodes the shore. Biting, pulling. He feels a drop land on his cheek. His eyes snap open in time to see the glass strike him in the face, followed by darkness.
* * *
Ekon felt a strike across his cheek.
“I said, ‘Wake up!’”
His cheek stings again.
Stop! Leave me be!
“To what end? I’m ashamed at what you’ve become.”
Ekon’s eyes snap open, but he still only saw darkness. Had I said that aloud?
A chuckle was the only response. It was akin to a little girl while the voice was definitely a woman’s. “I hear all. You need not put your thoughts into words.”
I can’t see! Am I dead?
“Had I wished you dead, you most certainly would be.” She paused, “I am merciful.”
I want to see! Although Ekon didn’t speak this aloud, his mind’s eye saw his intonation, his anger.
“You’ve seen all your life. What have you done?”
Ekon cleared his throat. “I’ve built great things.”
“Built. Past tense.”
Ekon felt the bile rising. Who was this voice to criticize Ekon the Builder?
“I think you know.”
Please forgive me!
No reply. Ekon’s sightless eyes welled up with tears. “Please forgive me!”
No reply. He felt an ache in his heart. Mercy, please!
Ekon felt her presence. He felt her hair brush his cheek. Her smell was intoxicating. He drank it in. He felt as if he could stay in that moment forever.
“But, if you did, what would you learn?”
What must I do? What must I say?
His body shuddered. He could feel pain in his fingers. His head felt as though someone was playing drums inside it. He felt nauseous. He’d felt this way before. Every morning.
“Yet it continues. This is you, again and again.”
Each instance of ‘again’ He felt the pain compound. He cried out out, but not in his head this time.
“Purge! Purge this evil from your mind, body and soul!”
The pain was intense. I know I’m not worthy of the pain, of forgiveness… Of life.
Ekon’s vision cleared and he saw the most beautiful face. Golden hair, with a flower over her right ear. Her white dress billowed around them. Her lips were the brightest shade of red he’d ever seen. Redder than a perfect apple. She leaned over and kissed his forehead. It was a matronly kiss, a motherly kiss. Ekon felt her unconditional love. He wished he felt that love for himself. Heat radiated thorough out his body, stemming from the spot those lips touched. She stood, and he heard her feet softly on the floor. Then, she’s gone.
Ekon wept openly. He lie there on his perfect kitchen floor. He reached up to wipe away the tears. I can move! He rolled over and saw the glass and blood. His hair was matted and damp with blood, sweat and a little of the amber liquid. When he examined his hands, the stains were obvious. He climbed into the chair and toed the glass on the floor, trying to make sense of all that happened.
Ekon walked to a window facing the ocean. He grabbed a looking glass and trained it on a tree in full bloom. I must get there. He didn’t understand his sudden compulsion, but the spot on his forehead where the woman kissed him burned. He started towards the door and as he turned the knob, he paused, stepping back into the house.
He strode to another closet with sure legs and full of determination. Reaching in, he pulled out a satchel full of woodworking tools. He opened it and made a cursory glance at its contents. Satisfied everything was in order, he stepped out and closed the door behind him.
Next: Flutter By