Character Sketch: James

     Bored stiff like cardboard.
     James wondered if there was any chance of sleeping through this one.
     “James, are you ready yet?” Mom called from the hallway. It was half-past the hour, and she was anxious. Marley would be here soon and James hadn’t even dressed.
     “Working on it Mom,” he responded, then closed his eyes. Working on it, working on it, the three words drumming into his brain hoping they might stick. Visiting used to be fun, they would be expected or have visitors of their own; they would go door to door to say hello welcome a new neighbor, make a new friend. A new friend, like Jeremy. He used to make me laugh, James thought, see the world in another way.
     Opening his eyes James reached for the edge of the bed, scooting himself up to the end. It took a few minutes for his butt and elbow to connect so he could swing his legs around to touch the floor. It was the closest he would come to a seated position on anything this soft.
     “Max, come,” he said. A black and white hound dog lifted his head, and then trotted over to James’ right side.
     James reached for the harness grip as he placed his feet on the ground, and pulled the walker closer. Jeremy had coached him to use the dog and accompanying walker to circulate the blood in his legs, to not rely so heavily on the chair. It was a process, moving forward in inches, moving forward in the time of a turtle, where once he was the hare.
     James tried not to think of before, of the accident, it slowed him down and made his body heavy, weighted down by the psychology of thought on his shoulders. Max leaned forward and pushed his muzzle into James’ open palm, he always seemed to know when he needed encouragement.
     “Mrs. Silver, I promise a guide dog will help James’ recovery almost immediately. Dogs are amazing creatures and in many cases act more humane than Man himself.”
     It had all been Jeremy’s idea, the guide dog, the walker. Up until the time they met James had resigned to a life bound by the chair, to a life of inadequacies and boredom. It was Jeremy that saw hope, saw a future from where James sat.
     A soft tap at the door, and then his mom’s voice, “James honey, do you need help?”
     James knew he should say yes but he couldn’t bring himself to invite her in.
     “Mom, I just need another 10 minutes, okay?” James waited for a beat before continuing, “Do you think we have time for a coffee before she gets here?”
     Coffee was his mom’s favorite, she would make time for them to enjoy a cup before leaving. It was their understanding, their agreement, to add in time.
     “Of course, I’ll take care of that now,” she answered. James could almost see her smile through the glass as he heard her footsteps move away and down the corridor.
     The pants were draped over the walker where he left them last night. They were blue corduroy, a thin wale the color of the sea. The snaps enclosed within the false seam, like dance pants a Chippendale might wear. Sometimes before bed, he envisioned himself strong and sexy, a stripper, pulling the pants free with one hand while the other writhed in the air. If his arms allowed, he could stand for a moment before feeling the quiver and dropping back onto the bed.

Written by (c) Andrea G Preziotti, 29 July 2012

 

 

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