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The International Writers Magazine: All About Adam

On a Clear Day I Can See ‘til Dinner Time.
• Oswaldo Jimenez
Adam saw the world unfolding before his eyes without any regard to what he was feeling or sensing. It ( the world) was oblivious, uncaring, unavoidably present, yet foreign to him. He sat at the dinner table, his mind wrinkled with thoughts, as his eyes regarded the massive tree, distant and ridiculous in its frozen stance, through the window opposite where he was sitting.

“I must must be from another planet,” thought Adam with a sense of foreboding. “The freaking stork must have made a wrong turn when it delivered me,” he wondered aloud, inadvertently, while inside his head, he was trying desperately to iron out the wrinkles of meandering illusions which he felt difficult to accept or believe.

He inhaled slowly, and let out a dubious sigh of despair; a reflection of what his soul, if he indeed had one, felt. His eyes regarded the trunk of the massive tree, diminutive in the distance, which, in his mind’s eye, was nothing more than an overgrown weed; a gigantic piece of broccoli, springing out of the earth like the hair on his head; an object of illusion, part of some desperate plan to gather and keep the elements of earth and man together, though necessarily incompatible. Adam’s mind cogitated on the fact that there were millions and millions of trees springing forth from the ground, the exasperating revelation: he was living in this planet as a parasite, a flea, a tick, a louse, in the body of a domesticated animal which the earth had become. This, Adam thought, was very, very depressing, not to mention, demeaning and disgusting, which, in addition, reinforced his belief that he must not belong in this planet, for damn sure.

Adam often sighed when he felt the palpable alienation embedded deep inside his heart and guts. Of course, Adam did not believe in such a thing as a soul with its promise of salvation through divine intervention. He was dubious of the notion of life continuing after death. He was bemused by the facile notion of haven or hell. Nevertheless, the prickly futility of his existence felt ridiculously real, and true, like the gigantic broccoli chunks with their greenish stalks and umbrella-shaped clusters of multicolored florets, that made them look like miniature trees on his dinner plate.

Adam felt ostracized from the real world. He felt corralled in a Eden of his imagination at odds, really, with all that is palpable and real. This fact, and the fact that he was nearly always excluded from the social milieu at his school, had made him realize that indeed he was not from this planet after all, if not, at the very least from another dimension. Adam felt so convinced by this, that he had decided to keep track of his thoughts, feelings, and emotions, in a journal, like a captain’s log in a caravel headed to an unknown destination; its pages would become the only record of his precarious and irreverent voyage in the event of his doom,. Adam kept the journal religiously. He wrote down significant, and insignificant events, as well as the vivid and haunting dreams he was able to remember after waking.

His waking dreams were elusive, difficult and hard to jot down as they had actually taken place in his unconscious mind. Some made no sense. There were gaps, “lagunas mentales” that were impossible to discern; they were ethereal, evanescent, which surfaced every-now-and-then from some dusty, attic in the penumbra within his head, yet present like the ghosts of some ancient lore. Adam knew them as intrusions on his waking life.

They were gauze like apparitions that shaped themselves in the from of events that he immediately discarded from his mind because he understood they were generated by some defense mechanism he had instinctively developed in order to maintain a semblance of sanity. Sanity as an element, like wood, or fire, or air, or metal, that spoke true to him and kindled his need to remain on the path of involvement in life, which he felt vanishing before his eyes.

“You don’t have to eat the broccoli.” His mother’s voice startled Adam, who had been engrossed in thinking about the impossibility of living on a planet were weeds grew as tall as trees. “You may be excused from the dinner table, if you are no longer hungry,” his mother said.

The sound of his mother’s voice had a soothing effect. It was the bridge between the threatening abyss that stood between the real and the imaginary. The bridge, Adam discerned, was like his life line, that guided him through the labyrinth of his imagination, and helped him hold on to reality like railings. Until firm ground magically appeared, almost, transported him from inside his mind to the realm of the living. His mother’s voice reached into the twilight of his imagination and offered him safe passage into their shared world.

“I’m done,” he said dropping his utensils which made an eerie, metallic noise as they collapsed against his dinner plate. “Thank you very much for dinner,” whispered Adam politely, picked up his plate, still littered with green chunks of broccoli, rinsed it, then walked over to the dinner table where his mother and father were sitting, kissed his mother in the back of the head, and waved his hand to his father, while he walked away, as if he were waving from the window of a train leaving the station, transporting him to a land far, far, away, a place so remote, he knew they would never see each other again. Adam turned his back and headed away from dining room.

The faint clinking of glasses, and the soft murmur of his parents’ voices crept slowly up his back and travel swiftly to his ears. He didn’t care about what they said. He just wanted to get away as fast, if not faster, than it had taken him to come down, about a half-hour earlier after being summoned to the dinner table.

“I don’t know what’s gotten into him” his mother said with a concerned tone on her voice, directed at no one in particular.
“He takes after your side of the family,” said a gravely voice, that belonged to Adam’s father.
“Well, regardless of whose genes are responsible for Adam’s melancholic stupor, I am concerned, and I wish you would consider speaking with him.” Adam’s mother said, directing her voice straight across the table, aimed at the heart of Adam’s father.
“Well, he’s an only child, you expect these idiosyncratic behavior from an only child,” said the husband, not looking up from his dinner plate, busy trying to cut off a piece of the broiled meat that had been sitting on his plate next to a healthy portion of broccoli.
“I’m concerned.” His wife murmured to herself, looking down at her plate, dismissively.
Without lifting his eyes to look up at his wife he quipped, “Perhaps he’s in love.”
“I remember feeling completely inadequate at his age when confronted by the strange transformations within my mind and body when the “thing” came along. The “thing” he was referring to was love, of course, something that at his age was met more with disdain and disbelief than ardor and joy. “I still shudder at the thought of having to admit that Maggie Bukowski made my heart flutter.” he said coldly. “It was an embarrassing thing to admit to my friends and family.” He continued his sermon, an amalgam of sentences that she pretended to hear, “I can see how something like that might make Adam seem like he’s complete, well, you know, idiot, in front of a girl.”
“Well, we’ll have to wait and see.” said Adam’s mother, after a curious pause, as if she was measuring the tone, the feel, the body language of her husband, more so than anything that he had blurted. That was their last comment of the night on the subject.

Fourteen-year-old Adam lay on his bed, in his cozy room with the flat screen TV the gaudy posters of Sarah over the painted walls and the drooping curtains his mother had fashioned for him when he’d turned eleven, and he never had the heart to tell her that he was not very fond of the theme of “Casey at bat” she had chosen for him. He lay in the white room staring at the ceiling that seemed to threaten him with its desperate blankness, something that many years later, after he’d relinquished the thoughts of his mother and father and removed the veneer of nostalgia from his recollections, would bring him back to that very bed, and the very thoughts that plagued him at this moment and sent his mind into fits of desperation.

© OJ - Art Artzineonline August 2013


Oswaldo Jimenez

I don’t know the reason I went up the staircase. I don’t know why I counted each step as I went up; then again, is there a reason for anything in a dream?
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Whenever mother told the story of my father’s death, she reached into her bosom and pulled out a diminutive pewter crucifix which she wore hanging from a silver chain around her neck, and rubbed it between her thumb and index finger
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