Absentmind

Accidents can be defined sometimes as unforeseeable and unfortunate incidents occurring due to bad luck. Or bad nature.


absentmind

Recently unemployed, Sebastian spent his time daydreaming, which was the main reason for his employer to fire him after his first month of probation. He had been working in a glass factory for a couple of months where attention and belief are essentials to the workers, regardless of their skin color or their social status.
It was Thursday the third, one week after the discharge from work, Sebastian woke up at 12 noon. His eyes half opened, he took a long genuine breath, stretched his arms to the side and his legs to the bottom, and bent his fingers and toes, this was his useful daily routine. Then he placed his feet on the floor and made a stand, contemplating the floor and the earth beneath him; but the world above him. It felt like a long moment until his eyes blurred and he got dizzy, which was when he decided to move to the kitchen and prepare a pot of tea. Four minutes passed, he grabbed his tall cup and went to his living room and sat with both elbows fixed over his parallel knees. He held the cup of tea with both hands to feel the coziness then he sipped slowly while his blood is running warm. This procedure soothed him from his reality and its events, it absorbed him into a trance which he is attached to, back into daydreaming.
Time passed and the tea turned cold and bitter, which brought him back from his muse and it wasn’t by mistake nor by inspiration that he decided to write down what he’d just visioned; nature pulls a calm string every now and then.
Sebastian found some blank papers inside the drawer next to his bed but he wanted the whole thing seem like something new, a fresh start. So he went to the store that is located next to the building where he lives. The door was opened and no one paid him any attention when he entered, he moved across the stocks looking for a letter-sized notebook and he found one. He picked it up and walked back across the store to pay for it. The cashier had a smile all over his slim face as if he knew why Sebastian is buying a notebook which made Sebastian nervous because it was something he wanted it to keep private, until it gets published.
Some people on the street stared at him on his way back home as if they knew what he was up to and that made him more nervous; he disliked others getting inside his mind, he felt edgy and stressed, he experienced the urge of protecting his visions and dreams.
He closed his apartment’s door and locked it suspiciously and proceeded to his desk where he sat and took a pen from the drawer and started writing.
His words traveled through days and nights, each one following the other without hesitation, bound to complete his book. Eventually he was remembering his dreams, he didn’t need to make any effort to trigger ideas out of his brain, but he made some exceptions when he recalled some nightmares.
Et voilà! He finished his story in the evening after two weeks of drinking teapots and eating biscuits. He wasn’t surprised as much as someone would be after writing their first novel, but he was extremely happy which he expressed it by cleaning and putting the house in order the next morning after finishing his cup of tea. He kept his desk untouched because it looked sacred from where he was standing, he made a sigh of pleasure and relief, then he went and took a short bath since the water wasn’t hot enough. He suited up respectfully although he was going to send it by mail to the publisher but Sebastian thought that he should do it decently; a fresh start. He put his book in a big folder, wrote the publishing house’s address on its front and put a stamp on the back along with his building’s address seeing that the whole apartments in his building had only one common mail box. He left his apartment and walked around the corner of the street and posted his folder inside an official mailbox, then went back home.
It took one week for the publishing house to reply during which Sebastian worked as a waiter in a pub, the reply was shocking because it turned out that the story was written and published afore. The manager at the publishing house considered it as a joke not to be told again.
Sebastian grew mad because he knew that something is wrong, he couldn’t have stolen it because he wrote down his own dreams. “I did not steal it” he screamed boiling and enraged, “unless…” he murmured. Cynicism and dubiety started growing their branches around Sebastian’s core, he started acting irregular and strange. After hours of guessing and contemplating, he resolved that someone is heaving ideas into his mind, someone with dangerous mental capabilities, he had heard once about people with paranormal powers, tricking and deluding others, running a twisted show in the society with their spiteful manners.
But Sebastian didn’t want to give up on what seemed to be his new devotion: Writing.
Putting that into his perspective, he decided to write again, and this time without thinking twice of the dreams he still wants to write about, he had dreamt a lot. But he needed to purchase a new notebook, and the cashier being one of his suspects along with the people from the street, he wanted to avoid him desperately because he didn’t want to risk being controlled again; and he needed evidence to catch the guilty by elimination.
Unfortunately, Sebastian couldn’t figure out a new way to get a notebook without going himself, so he put on his hat and wore his long coat in which he found his sunglasses then he went to the store. The door was closed, he opened it and entered inside. He had already planned to act confident so he raised his left hand and touched the front of his hat gently in a saluting conduct and walked directly towards the notebook stand without confusion. Sebastian found the notebooks and he grabbed one, then an unforeseeable idea passed through his mind that he might need more than one, so he took two more and walked back to the cashier. He paid for his items without saying a word and left the store heading back home, no one paid him any attention on the streets.
Sebastian reached his place without anyone noticing that it was him during his small adventure of purchase. He threw down his coat on his biggest sofa and then he projected his hat at the wall hanger. He moved to the kitchen and took his kettle and filled it with water, “There’s a Tea in STORY, hehe” he giggled, then he realized how lame his joke was and frowned at it as if looking serious would wipe off his previous moment from existence. Sebastian fixed himself a cup of tea and went back to his legendary desk where he sat and started writing again. He tried this time to put down his thoughts as fast as he remembered them, he wasn’t going to any chance for someone to slip an idea into his head. He didn’t want to get humiliated again. Therefore he put all of his attention and efforts into writing. Fast and furiously, he finished his second book after three weeks.
He tucked his second book inside a new folder and went on with the same procedure he did after he wrote his first book. Sigh. Short bath. Suit up. Address. Stamp. Address. He left his apartment with conviction that he would return safe and sound. He walked down the sidewalk in a fast pace, left, right, left, right, left…Corner! He made the turn while tightening his grip on the folder and he dropped it inside the mail box which was located twenty feet ahead, and he walked back quickly toward his apartment. He passed by a store on his way back to get vegetables and meat, since he needed food beside biscuits to survive.
Another week passed while Sebastian was working some extra jobs as a waiter although the manager along with his customers were not satisfied with his long breaks, and daydreaming.
A reply from the publishing house came under the form of a warning, which stated that Sebastian would be facing legal issues if he ever sends more stories that were copied and plagiarized from other authors and books, and that it is highly recommended to avoid making any further contact with the publishing house. Sebastian’s face changed its color. Turning mad as a hornet, he shred the letters with his bare hands, cursing and blaspheming he fell to his knees, and he started fisting the ground, promising and threatening whoever manipulated him that he will punish them, then he addressed his words towards the walls around him, he blamed them for not protecting him; to what purpose is a wall if it doesn’t separate him from the world, to protect him from it. From them.
Half an hour passed and he calmed himself down, he was still on the floor but now laying on his left side and what urged him to relax was the fear of going crazy, the most frightening anxiety of going mad, but he knew he was a sane man and that he wanted to keep thinking straight. He was not willing to surrender to others’ game nor to let them induce a serious mental illness on him. He was not willing to lose his mind. Not yet.
As a result, he stood up and tapped his clothes, he extended his arms above his head while his eyes were closed, he inhaled slowly then he pushed his hands upward and moved them to his side and let them loose as if someone had drawn the biggest circle with his hands. He moved to his desk where he sat gently and he picked one of the two remaining notebooks. He checked his pockets as if looking for something, but his hands came out empty, so he stood up again and went to the sofa where his coat was and he checked its pockets, he pressed his lips together, a smile drew itself on his face showing his contentment of finding whatever he was looking for, then he tossed the coat back at the sofa and went back to his desk.
He sat on his wooden chair as if a judge is ready to bend the rules. He put his left fist on the table and his right hand over the notebook where the pen rested between his thumb, his index finger and his middle finger. Sebastian looked like an artist whose speciality is holding pens. He’d considered that commitment is his only offense against those puppeteers and that he’s willing to embrace his pledge at all costs.
Clear minded, Sebastian started writing again, flipping the coin in his left hand frequently, which he found earlier inside his coat, at every turn and choosing to write every memory he regained from his dreams depending on the head or tail. He even included some of his childhood secrets that he kept from his parents, and some of his friends’ secrets that he revealed to his mother. He was devoted to make it right this time; he’s in control now.
Sebastian finished his third story after five weeks, he didn’t expect to feel empty at that moment, but he did. Sebastian felt hollow and abandoned, his eyes staring aimless on the walls, nothing to reflect to. He wasn’t expecting parades and awards ceremonies but definitely not blankness, maybe a critic or a crucifixion by a journalist in a newspaper or even a blogger or a neighbor, but not void.
Nevertheless, a minor spark of vengeance toward the trickster, who turned him into a pawn and an instrument to play his music with, beamed somewhere in his space which reminded him of his recent engagement. Recollecting his thoughts, Sebastian closed his eyes and took a deep breath and puffed out the darkness that filled him, then he risen up and walked to his desk, took a folder and slipped the notebook inside it. He wrote down the address of another publisher on its front and his address on the back, and put the stamp compassionately. He put on his coat and his hat swiftly, wore his glasses and set off to deposit the folder in the mailbox. Walking on the sidewalk, Sebastian contemplated his outcomes and which would be worse, being turned down, for whatsoever reasons, or being unheeded; doubt is a dangerous pleasure.
The streets were calm and grey that afternoon, few cars had passed by Sebastian but none seemed suspicious. He slid his folder into the mailbox and made sure to hear its sound when it hit the bottom, and he retired back home.
But now that he has finished one of his objectives, time advanced while its hands turned around racing each others during his yield into his sofa. He imagined what would happen if his book gets published, how he would grab his first printed book and savor its fresh ink on its papers, or gaze at his name on the cover. Musing at these prospects, Sebastian felt odd and euphoric but not embarrassing, his daydreams were being filled with light and relief, they were being cleansed from the unexplainable and perplexing world that his body had itched from. All of a sudden, a dark corner gloomed within his daunting prospect, a dire hand moved from one joy to another turning them to misery and fear. Sebastian snapped back to his present moment at the recent confrontation with his hideous nightmares, he moved to the kitchen and fixed himself a new cup of tea, then later went to sleep like a lamb at ease.
About four weeks after that night, Sebastian, observing through his apartment window, saw a postal service truck stopping next to the building where he lives, one person got out and moved some items to the inside and then rode inside the truck and it rolled away. A calm shiver passed through Sebastian like a ghost colliding with his grave, and he jumped excited over the stairs craving for a reply. He found a letter with the publisher’s address on its back, he tore it open and started reading wholeheartedly the first paper out of three. The letter was formed of a couple of headlines which stated the publisher’s refusal to the book due to full plagiarism, a letter of chastise and warning as to future conduct, and… Sebastian started seeing blurring characters, signs grayed his vision, his blood pressure dropped as a cause to that, he began feeling numb in his legs and losing consciousness until he hit the floor; it was right by him to push enthusiastically toward his dreams, eventually he ended up in one of them.
One day passed and Sebastian was still lying in a bed at a hospital, sleeping mostly and dreaming, some were nightmares less horrifying than his circumstances. He woke up during his second night and tried to recollect what had happened to him, but he couldn’t and the more he tried the more he got fatigued. The lights were off inside his room, he tried to move but his mastery over his body failed him, so he thought of just staying there. Then his eyes caught a dark shape at the corner of the room, Sebastian, made effort to identify what or who is the figure and it turned out that a man wearing a long coat and a hat was sitting on a chair whose face couldn’t be seen due to the dimness inside the room. Sebastian, scared the pants off, tried to talk to the mysterious man but he couldn’t move his lips and form the letters he wanted to articulate and vocalize even though rage came down to him as he suspected the man being the puppeteer. It felt like a cup holding water and waiting for someone to drink it; or perhaps pour it on the ground.
Then the strange man murmured something and Sebastian detected his teeth which made him conclude that the figurine is grinning, and that made him remember a part from his stories that he once wrote, a part when a man goes to a dentist clinic to get operated, and this man kills the dentist afterwards seeing that he felt pain during the procedure.
Then the man with the hat whispered: “You better sleep now, you will wake up soon”, and Sebastian slept like a log that night, no memory of dreams or nightmares, only the smooth emptiness of his bed.
He woke up the next day over the sound of the window being opened by a nurse. Even though the light was piercing as a needle, he managed to open his eyes, sat up and greeted her, then he asked her about his location. The nurse explained what had happened to him and that he is lucky for not having a seizure, “you probably had a breakdown and you fainted” she said. She sounded full of empathy, and she definitely didn’t show any sort of stress or worry; Sebastian wondered if that was a good thing or a bad thing. Could she be careless? He questioned himself.
Then the nurse asked him if he was feeling better, which removed his previous doubts, and he met her with a positive response. “Excuse me, but who’s the man who visited me yesterday at night?” he asked her politely. She told him that no one did and that no visits are allowed at night. “But I saw a man sitting there” he said while pointing his hand at the corner. The nurse stood steady for a moment, thinking and remembering, then she gave him a benign smile and said “I can assure you that no visitors are allowed at night, you must have had a visit from fever, because that’s what it does, it creates illusion or bad dreams. I think you need to stay here and rest a bit.” Sebastian thought that she could be right and that he needs more rest.
He took a deep breath and closed his eyes, then an idea shone from an unexpected section of his brain, and he became angry and incensed at the previous undertaking, he opened his eye pondering at what sort of fever and nightmares would give their victim an advice during their popular visit; kind enmity.
Later that afternoon, the nurse entered his room and she told him that his test results came with good news, “You don’t have any type of internal injuries or hemorrhage” she confirmed. Then she told him that they informed his sister Irene and that she is on her way to pick him up, thus he must prepare himself, which he did. Half an hour passed and Irene entered the room worried and tensed, she gave him a fair hug and helped him walking to the car.
After an unusual and quiet drive from the hospital, dusk had surfaced all over the region where Irene lived. She pulled over her car in front of the garage, and she assisted her brother to get inside the house. Once they got inside, she put down her stuff and turned to him tenderly and said “Hey Lukos.” she paused for a moment then she looked him in her brother’s eyes and went on explaining herself, “I really don’t know how to describe what you’ve put me through, but this is not the first time you disappear for months and then I receive a call from a hospital telling me that they got you inside…” Irene tried to clarify that he can stay at her house for as long as he desires, “you are the only family that I got, please don’t leave anymore” she bowed her head and she swiped the tears that were already falling. Lukos frowned for a second then he drew a natural smile and stepped to her and gave her a warm hug, and he said “I’m sorry, please stop crying, I don’t really remember what happened but now I’m here, with you”, and that made her weep more and she pressed her arms around him tightly.
The night had veiled and Lukos was preparing himself to sleep, Irene had given him his familiar pajama. He turned to his bed-table and saw an old picture of his sister Irene and her italian husband Castello who died a couple of years ago. Lukos, recalling that Castello was a noble man who treated Irene accordingly, sat on the bed and tried to recollect what happened to him. Suddenly, Irene knocked and opened the door, she said while standing still and holding a pile of envelops “These are the checks and letters from your publishers, they even sent some boxes and a bottle of wine. I’ve put everything in the garage except the wine” she joked. “I’ll keep these here on the table, you can check them in the morning” she dropped the envelops on a table next to the door. Lukos smiled at her without saying anything, and after a long awkward moment Irene wished him a good night and closed the door behind her. Sleep couldn’t find Lukos, eventually he was curious about whereabouts himself in the last couple of months therefore he stayed awake till next day and had a hushed breakfast with his sister, then he walked her to the car since she must go to her work. He went back inside the house and climbed upstairs to his room after her car steered after the corner and couldn’t be seen anymore, and started reading all the letters he received from the publishers. He’d totally forgotten that he wrote half a dozen of successful novels in his life, and the big numbers on the checks brought that memory to his mind.
Lukos spent the next six months jobless, living on the money he gained from his books, and helping his sister with casual stuff like cooking, moving furnitures and fixing the house. He took a walk alongside the beach during some of the evenings, looking back on what he’d done during his deserted past but he couldn’t come around any notion of it.
He received a letter one morning from his publisher requesting him to meet with other agents as soon as possible for some book signing events. Lukos, getting excited, locked the house and called a cab, he was heading to the city where the meeting is due.
The meeting was pleasing and beneficial for both sides and that made Lukos more refreshing therefore he decided to take a walk down the streets at the downtown which seemed familiar to him, until he reached a building that made him quiver because he recognized it from his dreams. Getting more curious about it, Lukos climbed the stairs until he found an apartment with an opened door, he walked inside and closed the door behind him. At that moment, Lukos started acting weird. He circled the apartment, he checked inside the kitchen where he found a pot and a box filled with tea bags. He kept wandering in the apartment up to the moment when he spotted a desk. Lukos sat on the chair and took the notebook and the pen that were left on the table. He thought of leaving a letter to the apartment’s owner if he doesn’t show up about contacting him whenever he has the chance, because now he was dying to know the connection between him and the apartment since he feels it so intensely; perhaps the owner might know something about his marooned memory.
Half an hour passed and no one appeared. Lukos started to get crazed and impatient so he decided to fix himself a cup of tea, he thought that the owner wouldn’t mind. He took his cup and sat over the desk, then he took the pen, restlessness took charge over him, and he started writing his letter informing the owner about the urge and necessity to contact him as soon as possible. He wrote about how his apartment and the building are too familiar to him, yet he can’t remember the reason. He also wrote that they should meet, perhaps they will recognize each other and that the owner would be a great help to him and that he would appreciate his correspondence whatsoever.
Lukos reached the end of the letter and he wanted to leave his contact address, but he couldn’t remember it, which made him ticked off; it wasn’t his lucky day, nor a lucky nature.
On that account, and after thinking of all the possible means to be contacted, he thought of writing down his name, perhaps the owner would recall his acquaintance and contact him back. So he took the pen and signed his name while whispering it: “Sebastian”; then he stared into the room, musing his dreams and imagination.
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