Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Floating Man

Jill had just had the worst day of her life.  Everything she held dear was crashing down.  Her mom was sick again and in the hospital.  She didn’t know how she’d pay the next month’s rent.  The love of her life was cheating with a friend.  It was true; she didn’t have time for him.  But she thought their love meant more than that.

She looked out the window while she still could.  The grass was dead; she hadn’t watered the lawn in ages.  How could anyone with three jobs in addition to everything else?  At least it hadn’t grown so much to get her fined.  Death was the better alternative.

Jill pondered this and gave a shudder.  It certainly wasn’t for her mother.  Perhaps for herself if so much didn’t rely on her.  How nice it would be to just end all of the stress and worries with one little slit, she thought.  Maybe a sibling would step up and care for her mother in Jill’s absence.  But a more cynical side told her they would not.  Ted, Johnny and Dianne moved far away and hardly ever called.  They weren’t ignorant either; they knew perfectly well their mother needed them.

The sky was cloudy.  But it wouldn’t rain.  The heat would hold adding to Jill’s misery.  She stared longingly hoping for the contrary.  That’s when she saw it.  Not rain but something else.  It wasn’t a cloud; rather some sort of shape.  There were legs and arms…

Jill gasped.  It was a man.  Had he fallen from an airplane, or been thrown out?  It couldn’t be, he wasn’t falling.  The man was floating with no chute or glider of any kind.  His face was stony and expressionless.  Was he dead?  Some law of gravity appeared to be broken.  The man stayed perfectly still not swaying the least in midair.

She picked up the receiver but paused.  What would she tell the police?  This might all have been her imagination.  Jill rubbed her eyes and went to splash water on her face.

When she returned to the window nothing had changed.  He was still floating there, expressionless. Did anyone else see this?  She can’t have gone mad.  She had too much to do.  Her night job started in another hour.

Slowly, however, dread left Jill and was replaced with calm.  There was something serene about the man as he floated.  Jill couldn’t explain why but the world suddenly seemed workable.

She blinked again and he was gone.  Jill noticed other neighbors with relaxed expressions staring out their windows as she had been.  Who was this floating man; why had he come?  Jill imagined him an outcast soul, pining for the ones he lost up high but realized this was silly.  Or was it?

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