Not the old routine at all


Most days its the same old routine.

The alarm goes off, and I crawl out of bed feeling like Im carrying the world on my shoulders.

Even putting on my shirt and pants.

My shirt is always starched too stiff and I always fight to keep my toaster from turning my daily bread black.

But this morning, I dont move.

I just stare at the ceiling, at the cracks and webs that I always imagined mapping out my life, and I feel sick.

Every goddamn thing remind me of Linda, when the last thing on this planet I want to think about is her.

I keep trying to figure out why she went away, and then I tell myself to quit that.

Shes gone, fool simple as that.

And she took both suitcases, too, when she promised she would take only one.

I dont know why this gnaws at me as much as the fact she had the gall to leave, but it does.

Im almost as upset at the loss of a suit case as I am about her taking our kid.

Where does her tyranny end?

What happens to all those promises we make?

The ceiling bores me so I roll over onto my side and I look at my bedside table and the lamp with the crooked shade.

Every Goddamn thing around me is falling apart and theres nothing I can do about it, but watch.

I know that at any minute my boss is going to call and want to know why Im not at the office, or why I havent called in already.

I havent got a clue what to tell him.

Im just now up to dealing with the office today, I hear myself saying, then hear him groaning, Is that so, Wilber? And just when do you think youll feel like coming to work?

My boss is not a man that believes mercy drops like a gentle rain from heaven, which makes me believe hes going to end up in the other place. He hates self pity or any other self-indulgent emotion.

So Im thinking, Ill just let the phone ring, and hope my boss thinks Im dead or just too sick to answer it.

But then I think, What if its Linda calling to say shes sorry and wants to come back?

So when the phone rings, I stare it, wondering what the hell Im going to do.

What can I say to her?

Sure I still love her.

Sure I want her back.

So I snatch up the receiver but before I can say any of that my boss voice screams at me asking me what the hell Im doing still at home.

Do you know what time it is?

You must have a wrong number, I say and slam down the phone.



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