Walk Don’t Walk

2 commentsTokyo,Writing

Walk Don’t Walk.

This is the sto­ry of a man who dreams of walk­ing in a gar­den. He lives in the city and his entire world is a col­lage of trains, bus­es and sub­ways. All he can con­scious­ly think of is com­mut­ing from one vehi­cle to anoth­er in a fran­tic attempt to make his appoint­ments on time. He longs for the vital­i­ty of sim­ply walk­ing, for the sim­ple plea­sure of the act and not as a means of trans­port­ing him­self from one place to anoth­er.

On an espe­cial­ly gray autumn morn­ing, he wakes up at 5 a.m., two hours before usu­al. He awak­ens with such a start that he thinks his alarm buzzed, so he instinc­tive­ly gives it a whack and jumps out of bed. Except on week­ends (when he likes to feel the leisure­ly east light on his face) he sleeps with his cur­tains drawn, so he does not real­ize now that it is still dark.

He mechan­i­cal­ly goes through the morn­ing rou­tine of shav­ing, brush­ing his teeth (twen­ty times in each direc­tion as the den­tist pre­scribed) and part­ing his straight hair on the side with the pre­ci­sion of a sur­geon. He then blind­ly takes out a gray suit from his clos­et (his suits are all the same col­or and trim). He gives him­self a quick glance in the mir­ror, adjusts his tie, picks up his brief­case and sprints off to the kitchen.

For a sec­ond not real­iz­ing the room is still in total dark­ness, he opens the fridge and grabs a glass of milk (one of ten care­ful­ly arranged pre-filled glass­es stand­ing in there). Then it hits him. Still bathed in the light of the fridge, he looks around him, turns on the light switch near the fridge door and glances at the clock hang­ing above the counter. It is still 5:15 am.

He returns the half-drunk glass to the fridge, clos­es it and walks out to the liv­ing room. He is now at loss. An unex­pect­ed gap of about two hours has opened in his sched­ule and he does not know what to do. He walks back and forth. He then throws him­self onto his couch with a sigh. He flicks on the TV. Weather fore­cast. Briefcase still in hand, he leaves the TV on, and as if in a trance walks bare­foot out of his flat.

He walks down the nar­row alley that con­nects his build­ing to the main street. He looks straight ahead, obliv­i­ous to the slow morn­ing move­ment (gro­cer, milk­man, paper­boy) begin­ning to unfold around him. He walks ahead. He reach­es the main street and con­tin­ues straight on with­out the slight­est pause. He begins to cross the street. He is struck by a car. His brief­case, papers fly­ing, is hurled upwards. Blackout.

[He walks through a gar­den. He smiles and tilts his head slight­ly upwards. Sunlight wash­es his face.] He is still uncon­scious. [He reach­es a big tree.] The dri­ver of the car, the gro­cer, milk­man and paper­boy now gath­er around him. [He wraps his arms around the bark of the tree, puts his nose to the wood and weeps.] He is still uncon­scious.

Back home, the alarm clock on his side-table strikes sev­en o’clock and lets out a deaf­en­ing buzz. He opens his eyes. To the sur­prise of every­one around him, he picks up his brief­case and walks away.

On the side of the street a tree sheds its first autumn leaf. He dis­ap­pears into the crowd.

Read more sto­ries about Tokyo, the city that inspired this sto­ry.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Samsam May 14, 2010 at 9:24 am

I love it!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Meedo May 14, 2010 at 1:28 pm

That makes me do this -> :)

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