(468 words) 22 Feb. 2018
By S.R.A. Markin
I belong in a cage. In a cold enclosed uninsulated area with not enough food to sustain nourishment, the man thought. “And ice that doesn’t melt,” he said reaching for a nearly frozen bottle of water. “And weights that are too cold to touch. I belong to be left alone, cold, starving, dehydrated and atrophied. For I am full of hate, and deep within the light suffocates, so malnourish my flesh and corrode my bones, and starve my lungs,” he said laughing harder.
What a dramatic dialogue, he thought to himself. Such poetry.
“And maybe then, when life extinguishes, I will smile again. Again he repeated in his mind, thinking as if the word held great potency that is out of his control. “I have lost appreciation for what was and what is.”
The light flickered in the cold garage. The fluorescent hardly lightens in negative 26-degree Celsius weather. The man sits on a wooden lawn chair that he made for his mother in high school. She left it behind when she moved away.
“I belong here,” he whispered. “I do not care much for social interactions. They are superficial, and anything meaningful always ends up hurting too much. That is why I am in the garage so late. It is easier to avoid others, to hide away after a long day of blending in,” he said quietly laughing to himself.
The idea of blending in with others isn’t exactly an idea that crossed his mind before. “Does that make me like one of them? Such a foolish idea. I am full of shit.”
The man continues to lift the cold, heavy bar for reps. His hands are tight from the long wait times between sets and such a drop in body temperature. He groans and counts aloud. The same noises he has annoyed others in the gym with and the similar sounds that have annoyed him. Only animals make noises like this. Therefore, I am an animal in my cage, he thought.
The man put the barbell down and took off the weights. He stacked them in neat piles just as he likes them. He leans the bar against the wall and turns off the light that is nearly out. He closes the door and walks through the crunching snow. A little owl sits perched on a board.
“Hello again, little owl,” he said.
Of course, the little owl doesn’t respond for the owl is hunting.
“Dad said you caught a mouse yesterday from behind the shed,” he said to the little owl.
The owl continues to look down.
“Good job,” he said raising his thumb. “You show such poise and patients. I can learn from you.”
The owl sits looking down. The man walks inside to clean up and eat fish and fries.