With nothing else to do but let his own thoughts drive him crazy, Mike leaves the kitchen for the living room. He eyes up the recliner. The cushions are molded to his body. Next to the recliner rests a tray table with the remote and a pack of cigarettes. Not long ago, empty beer cans and food wrappers littered the tray table and the surrounding area. He picks up the pack of cigarettes, notices only two are left, and tosses them in the trash.
Mike steps on the treadmill. He scowls at the recliner. It’s both an old friend and an old foe. The temptation to step off the treadmill and dump his sorry ass into that recliner is strong. He decides the recliner will be on the curb next week.
Five minutes into his exercise, Mike comes to his senses. The sun is shining beyond the window. He turns off the machine and opens the curtains. The brightness is blinding. He opens the front door and sticks his arm out. It’s at least 60 degrees.
Mind made up, Mike puts on his shoes and a light coat. He goes outside. He walks the old neighborhood for the first time since he can’t remember and thinks how pathetic that fact is. Little seems to have changed. The maples lining his street have always been huge. He gazes at the branches, sees little buds. Birds flutter about, tweeting. A light breeze rustles his collar. His smile lines deepen.
As he makes his way down the uneven sidewalk, he thinks he notices small changes. Maybe the neighbor five houses down painted their house a different color. A little further, the house across the street appears to have a new roof. People getting on with their lives. People living.
Then Mike realizes he has plans to give his own humble abode a facelift. When he reaches the dead end, he turns and heads back home. He enters, takes off his coat and shoes. He moves the laundry and runs the vacuum.
To some, the work may seem tedious, dull. But Mike goes about the chores with a peace inside him the rest of the afternoon, amazed what a walk can do.
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