Walk Don’t Walk

3 commentsTokyo,Writing

Walk Don't Walk.

This is the story of a man who dreams of walking in a garden. He lives in the city and his entire world is a collage of trains, buses and subways. All he can consciously think of is commuting from one vehicle to another in a frantic attempt to make his appointments on time. He longs for the vitality of simply walking, for the simple pleasure of the act and not as a means of transporting himself from one place to another.

On an especially gray autumn morning, he wakes up at 5 a.m., two hours before usual. He awakens with such a start that he thinks his alarm buzzed, so he instinctively gives it a whack and jumps out of bed. Except on weekends (when he likes to feel the leisurely east light on his face) he sleeps with his curtains drawn, so he does not realize now that it is still dark.

He mechanically goes through the morning routine of shaving, brushing his teeth (twenty times in each direction as the dentist prescribed) and parting his straight hair on the side with the precision of a surgeon. He then blindly takes out a gray suit from his closet (his suits are all the same color and trim). He gives himself a quick glance in the mirror, adjusts his tie, picks up his briefcase and sprints off to the kitchen.

For a second not realizing the room is still in total darkness, he opens the fridge and grabs a glass of milk (one of ten carefully arranged pre-filled glasses standing in there). Then it hits him. Still bathed in the light of the fridge, he looks around him, turns on the light switch near the fridge door and glances at the clock hanging above the counter. It is still 5:15 am.

He returns the half-drunk glass to the fridge, closes it and walks out to the living room. He is now at loss. An unexpected gap of about two hours has opened in his schedule and he does not know what to do. He walks back and forth. He then throws himself onto his couch with a sigh. He flicks on the TV. Weather forecast. Briefcase still in hand, he leaves the TV on, and as if in a trance walks barefoot out of his flat.

He walks down the narrow alley that connects his building to the main street. He looks straight ahead, oblivious to the slow morning movement (grocer, milkman, paperboy) beginning to unfold around him. He walks ahead. He reaches the main street and continues straight on without the slightest pause. He begins to cross the street. He is struck by a car. His briefcase, papers flying, is hurled upwards. Blackout.

[He walks through a garden. He smiles and tilts his head slightly upwards. Sunlight washes his face.] He is still unconscious. [He reaches a big tree.] The driver of the car, the grocer, milkman and paperboy now gather around him. [He wraps his arms around the bark of the tree, puts his nose to the wood and weeps.] He is still unconscious.

Back home, the alarm clock on his side-table strikes seven o’clock and lets out a deafening buzz. He opens his eyes. To the surprise of everyone around him, he picks up his briefcase and walks away.

On the side of the street a tree sheds its first autumn leaf. He disappears into the crowd.

Read more stories about Tokyo, the city that inspired this story.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Samsam May 14, 2010 at 9:24 am

I love it!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Meedo May 14, 2010 at 1:28 pm

That makes me do this -> :)

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Precious November 20, 2015 at 7:18 pm

It’s a plaeruse to find someone who can think so clearly

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