Ladies and Gentlemen this week the cavalcadeofstars proudly presents the dapper Leon J.Davenport known for his Fedora. Hang on to your heart. This one pulses your soul and takes your breath. And to think he wrote it for us. https://cavalcadeofstars.wordpress.com/
By Leon Jackson Davenport
The world is different today. It changed overnight, while I was asleep. When I awoke this morning I felt different, strange in my own body, like my skin didn’t fit my soul anymore. I took a long shower, believing the steam would shrink my skin so it would fit again. The shower refreshed me but my skin was still not fitting right. After dressing I went to the window and looked out, I started to recognize the world, but it felt wrong, it was very different, no, I was very different, the world was the same and I was changed.
I am grayer, stiffer, and my mental ability, once impressive now only average. My life has changed, like a film that is light and funny for the first two acts and with the third becomes a tragedy.
My mood, my outlook on life, my hopes for the future have all been lost. All the keystones of my life have gone, what is left I do not recognize.
I have been thinking of ending it all.
Without regrets or remorse.
In the old way: with a knife.
The number of very accomplished people that chose the last option impresses me. Actors, writers, lawmen, average people, good people, supremely tired people, who like me, feel hope is a word that describes what others have.
The knife is on my desk, newly purchased from the sporting goods store, all sharp and polished. It is lightweight and well balanced, a good serviceable knife. Efficient at household chores, cutting open packages, and other mundane stuff, for me it is the solution; I believe the only solution, to end the pain.
This is ultimately the problem, the reason for all this: pain. My pain, ceaseless, deep, overwhelming pain. Imagine the worst moments of your life in a movie playing at the theater down the street, everyone you ever knew, played with, even your first grade teacher Mrs. Smoke was there; everyone that you kissed or professed love eternal, everyone that cheered with you at youth ball games, everyone that has meant anything in your life is there.
The movie starts and you are very little trying to understand why they put Grandma in a shinny box with handles and why is she going in that hole and why is everybody crying and why do I have to wear this scratchy suit and why can’t I take off the bow-tie, when everyone in the theater starts to snicker; you can hear their hands go over their mouths trying not to laugh, they fail and start to guffaw. With the next scene the laughter gets louder, the one after that louder still on and on, each laughing voice, hurting like a knife cut that draws blood.
I am tired. I am tired of fighting the challenges of life; I am tired of the pain of hopelessness. This is the day that I have decided to write a new ending to that movie, the one were everyone laughed, their voices feeling like daggers tearing my flesh. I had hoped for a dignified resolution in the third act with a slow fade to black at the end. If I was writing the script I would give the main character the time he needs to support and comfort the people in his life, the people that might care a little, if he was gone. Instead I get a jump cut from the second act to the third. A disjoint, jarring transition that is anything but graceful.
I figure that my study would be the best place. The tile floors will make for easy cleanup, it is private and if there is any place in the world that I can be at ease, it is there.
Believing one needs to prepare for this ending I choose my moment very carefully. The girls are off at school; my wife is out, involved in one or another of her mercurial pursuits.
I am alone.
I am ready.
I am committed.
Looking around the room I relive the important scenes of my life and found to my surprise, that at one time, I did something right. But they were so few, these moments. The family picture on the edge of my desk, at one time gave me some comfort. Now staring at the picture of me the wife and kids, I notice how lovely they look and I look like I’ve got something stuck in my teeth.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about where I should do it. I’ve thought about who might find me. I’ve thought about how it might affect my wife, (were she ever to slowdown enough to notice). I’ve thought about how it might affect my children, my friends, and the people at work: then I realized, this is about me, not about them! This is about how I feel! This is about my needs!
This is about my pain!
I’m ready. Picking up the knife, staring at my reflection in the shiny steel blade, I decide to reprise, one final time, my life’s important moments, in montage, if you will; before completing the letter to the people I now choose to leave. I’ll tell them I had no other choice. I won’t say I’m sorry, I’ll just explain my reasons.
I remember my teens, my 20’s and 30’s I was on top of the world, I didn’t have much but I was: happy. I remember my 40’s and 50’s my decline, loss of purpose and love of life.
Composing my final letter, I did remember something that I had forgotten about myself. It was a simple thing, a very simple thing; I remembered, in most every decade of my life, there was one constant: I dreamed. Little dreams. Dreams about things I wanted for the kids, for my wife and me, career, and hobbies I wanted to try. I remembered that I wanted to try fly-fishing; I wanted to go to the arctic and photograph polar bears, orcas and seals. I wanted to write a novel, (remember, I said they were dreams: both real and pipe dreams count). I have no dreams now. I haven’t had any in a while. Life, responsibility, work, stress, strife all have robbed me of my ability to dream.
There was something else I remembered. In every act of my life, I was strong, intellectually and physically; I worked hard, demanded my due and stood up for anyone that needed my help. I wondered when that changed, when had I become the credits, (when the audience stumbles toward the exit) instead of the feature film? The answer is simple: When I could dream.
The reflection in the knife blade calls to me, imploring that I finish this. After careful consideration, (I now had doubt), I believed that I was not ready for the last option, just yet. I also wondered, if it was too late: had all the dreams been taken? I wondered if it was possible for a miscreant like me, even at this time in life, to find a dream.
Folding the knife I put it away into a desk drawer, picked up my coat, put on a hat I hadn’t worn in years and go to the library; planning to sojourn in the magazine section, hoping to find a dream.
Fade to black.
Bio: Leon Jackson Davenport is an Emmy Nominated Video Editor, Fine Art Photographer and Writer. His work and that of his alter, (who requests to remain nameless), was published by The Burlington County Times, 6 Sentences, The Full of Crow Quarterly, Foundling Review, At-The-Bijou|Blogspot and Power Burn Flash. His short story, “The End of Forever,” won Honorable Mention in the October Edition of Allegory. If you would like to read more of his work, go to LuLu.com and search, “Above the Clearing Sky.”