Are you brave enough to open the door to your destiny? Go All-In and not look back?
Lyle sighed heavily as he slid his badge across the digital time clock, “‘Nother day, ‘nother dolla…”. Though there were several coworkers around it was a sentiment mostly for his own ears.
Not that they would’ve cared to listen either way — he was mostly ignored by his peers.
And for good reason too. When he considered his own social awkwardness, well below average physical attributes and desert dry sense of humor, there was no need to ponder over why they cared little to none about whoever he was. He hurriedly squeezed past the group of home team complainers and out of town bandwagoners that blocked all but four inches of the doorway to leave the paper mill plant.
He checked his watch…only twenty minutes; he’d have to hurry! Working at the plant was all he did most days, but it was far from all he was. And today was an incredibly special day outside of the job, one in which he could not afford to be late! After shuffling through his locker and donning the same hoody he’d worn to the plant everyday since starting there six years ago, Lyle power walked past the security desk, through the front entrance and parking lot. Muscle memory and determination propelled his car routine to near autonomy and he was off; pushing the six-speed four-cylinder to it’s brink as he merged onto the highway.
Home in less than seven minutes, gave him thirteen to prepare and contemplate before he did it. As he entered the studio apartment, for some reason he pressed play on the answering machine. After a long beep it responded, “You have no new messages…”. Of course he didn’t. No one called a loner except bill collectors and marketers. Guess they too had what they wanted from him for the time being.
His void was spacious. He liked it that way. Neat, organized and efficient. Everything had its place and it’s time of use. For instance, there was no point in having both a coffee table AND a kitchen table — just as it would be silly to own both a bed and a couch, when futons were invented decades ago. His world was just as he needed it. The bare minimum a human male needed to maintain sanity. A futon, a single table, one lamp, a bookshelf and a coffee maker. The only other piece to his abode was the door. His eyes had been fixated on it from the moment he entered the front door — after all, today was the day….
He paced back and forth as he got dressed, never losing line of sight with the door and its myriad of locks. Four minutes. Having never worn one, the bow tie managed to twist his fingers in more knots than he’d anticipated, taking much more of his precious time as he got ready. Two minutes…
This was it. He gave the room one last glimpse. He knew he’d never see it again. The life he’d lived up to this point was nothing more than the whitespace between two letters in the story of the world. Lyle wasn’t the type of person who’d written his own path or worthy of a chapter — heck there wouldn’t even be a paragraph to say about him at this point. But that was here….he was a literal legend in the beyond. His life was no life worth living on Earth; he knew his worth. A worth he’d forged and crafted through blood, sweat, tears, agony…and love…
He grabbed hold of the trap door lock with sweaty palms then instantly jerked his hand back. Lyle retreated to the kitchenette and gulped down the emergency shot he’d prepared and left on the countertop this morning. The whiskey burned a trail of liquid courage throughout his gullet and into his veins. He wiped the fresh layer of perspiration from his brow and pushed on. Thirty seconds….
His actions were becoming out of body at this point — he was really doing it. Quickly he input the unlocking combination on the keypad and then swung open the latch.
No matter that he’d made the venture hundreds of times before, the weightless free fall left him dry heaving and at a loss for balance. He braced against the tree he’d since nicknamed barf-branch. There wasn’t any time to spare, Lyle shook off the vertigo and darted down the heavily wooded path.
There she was.
As he entered the clearing, the rows and rows of onlookers and guests rose to their feet celebrating his return to their world. Little did they know he was there to stay this time.
Their applause was deafening, lively and being completely ignored by the man of the hour; Lyle walked past them all as if they were invisible. Hooves and paws alike beat like drumming of Lyle’s heart as he barreled down the carpeted pathway towards his lovely bride.
He leaped the three steps and onto the stage in a single bound and grabbed her waiting digits, placing them in his own sweaty palms.
The Reverends’ words were lost to the moment, Lyle was only responding to instinctive timing at this point. He launched the veil over her snout and they embraced.
“Oh no!!!” Lyle rolled off the bed and slammed into the hardwood floor, cursing himself for the dream once again and dreaded yet another weeklong drag at the plant. He pressed his hand into his face.
“Huh….”, he looked down in confusion…in awe…feeling relief…at the fur that covered his paws.
“Are you okay my love….”
Her voice…. Her voice!