Anything would make him jump. The telephone ringing, a random car driving by outside his house, something disturbing on the TV, which was always droning on and on.
If the TV wasn’t on, the loud roar of the silence would be deafening.
He’d decided that he’d had enough already, and just couldn’t take any more. He felt something had to give soon. There was just no other way. He really needed to figure out a way to get out of his own head. The twenty-four-seven alarm bells going off and the fact he hadn’t talked to another living soul in days, maybe even weeks, had truly worn him down. He prayed and pleaded with God everyday to make it all stop. And besides, wasn’t he better before everything went down, when he was out in the world surrounded by people every day? For some reason they seemed to cheer his spirits back then, even on the days when he felt his lowest.
He genuinely liked people, or at least he did before. But now he refused to see or communicate with any of them.
Walking over for the umpteenth time to make sure the front door was securely locked, he proceeded to make his breakfast. His usual feast of eggs over easy, pork roll and Jersey home fries: the same breakfast he’d been eating since he was a kid. Although everything was different for him now and he considered himself someone he no longer knew, and relentlessly obsessed over it all with astonishment too, all day and every day, there were some things he tried really hard to cling to. He did his very best to try and keep some sort of routine. A part of him figured it would help promote some semblance of sanity, or at the very least help him fill the endless idle time he had. What else was he gonna do? The news on the TV just blared on, with the same old pundits talking the same old gloom and doom about the country and the world. Hey, they can keep their problems. Bunch of blowhard know-it-alls anyway.
None of it affects me one iota.
He plated up his food and sat at the kitchen counter and began to eat. As he tried to get involved in a news story about the extreme beliefs of one Ron Paul, and all those other charming personalities causing a ruckus nowadays, the front doorbell rang. He dropped his fork and stared at the door. Someone’s on the other side of it. Frozen with adrenaline, he broke out in a sweat , trying to figure out what to do. Filled only with fear, he tried to weigh his options and foresee some kind of outcome.
He got up quietly and slowly tiptoed toward the door, not making a peep. He put his ear against it to listen. Nothing. He slid against the wall and squatted down some, and tried to peek out through the blinds. He could only make out the blurry figures of what looked like two people.
This was so abrupt it panicked him even more, and sent his emotions skyrocketing. They’ve got to hear the TV, he thought. They’ve got to know I’m here. Very quietly he sat on the floor. Shaking and wiping his face, he decided he’d try as hard as he could to wait them out. No one knows I’m here, he thought. They’ll just give up and leave eventually.
That’s what he hoped more than anything.