Nothing matters anymore. Nothing since that day.
Sitting in a car at the end of the road. Watching the trains on the track stop, let people off. Pick people up. Then go again. Until the next one comes, stops, drops people off, picks people up, then pulls out again. The men in their uniform suits of gray and brown walking with briefcases, newspapers under their arms, walking towards their cars. Until tomorrow, when they do it in reverse, do it all over again.
What is this life, this conveyer belt life about, anyway?
“Do you think you’re depressed?” he asks, not looking at Jake directly, distracted, picking a piece of lint off the cuff of his sports jacket. (Jake thinking, what a word that is – “sports jacket.” Who came up with that ridiculous term and where did it come from? Talk about distracted.)
“I don’t know,” Jake says, turning the tables this time, just this once, “what do you think?”
“Maybe,” he says, “maybe what I think really doesn’t matter as much as what you think.”
So much for turning the tables (another strange phrase, but let’s let that one go. Okay, breathe. First in, then out, then….)
“That time you jumped off the bridge, were you depressed then?”
“Ha!” pops out of Jake’s mouth. He looks out the window. The sun is bright. The trees are in bloom. Birds are fluttering here and there.
“I don’t know. What do you think? After all, you are supposed to be the doctor here.”
“Jake, Jake, Jake. What are we going to do with you?” He shakes his head, a smile on his face. Oh, the Wise One. The game of turning tables has its rules, its limits, too, apparently, like everything else.
Walking out of the office, into that bright sun, blinding almost in its joyous light, heading back to his car. Opening the door. Sitting body down. Turning the key. Stepping on the gas and pulling out into the sea of metallic machines carrying caged souls.
Wondering where he can find another bridge.
Mitchell Waldman’s fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared in numerous publications, including The MacGuffin, Fictive Dream, Corvus Review, The Waterhouse Review, Crack the Spine, The Houston Literary Review, The Faircloth Review, Epiphany, Wilderness House Literary Magazine, The Battered Suitcase, and many other magazines and anthologies. He is also the author of the novel, A Face in the Moon, and the story collection, Petty Offenses and Crimes of the Heart (originally published by Wind Publications), and serves as Fiction Editor for Blue Lake Review. (For more info, see his website at http://mitchwaldman.homestead.com).