A Filing Cabinet Story
I awoke before dawn, as I do everyday. I used to have a laundry list of things to accomplish before I went into my office.
Mum needed to be woken, washed, fed, and then moved to her reclining chair to await the day nurse. Then there was the washing of her bedclothes, along with what she slept in, and there would likely be a second load when I got home.
Then, and only then, would I be free to take care of my own requirements.
It had all started about 20 years ago. My parents had gotten into a horrendous automobile accident in which my dad was instantly killed. Mum, though, survived. Somewhat.
After waking up from about a month long coma, upon hearing the news about her husband, had gone into a sort of catatonic state. The doctors said she had healed in everyway except her mind had shut off from the outside world.
I moved home from University, entered a training program, became the town constable, and started taking care of her. Every. Day. For the last 20 years. My life had not been my own.
Don't get me wrong, I loved my mum, and I mostly remember her as she used to be. She loved life, had a wicked sense of humor, and could dance like a professional. I missed her.
And this morning was the first morning since her funeral. My routine for the last 2 decades was gone.
I can't even remember how I filled my days before the accident. It all seemed like it happened to someone else.
I fixed myself breakfast, and got ready to go take care of the needs of the village we lived in.
I walked to my office, thinking of what I could actually do this evening when I got home. Reading? Gardening? Maybe go to the pub for a pint? I knew enough people in town, I am sure I could find someone to chat with.
It was overwhelming. I had not had free time to do with what I please for so many years that it truly seemed like a foreign concept.
Instead, I shut off my brain, and took a look around me.
It really was a beautiful day, with puffy white clouds slowly drifting by. There was a light breeze that moved my too long hair off of my forehead then gently laid it back down.
My walk was not even 10 minutes long. I was almost at the building when the strangest feeling came over me. I stopped short, and stood still to assess the situation.
Where were the butterflies in my stomach? Where was the knot in my shouldars? Where was my clenched jaw? Furrowed brow?
All I once it came to me. This is what relaxation must feel like! I took a deep breath, held it for a few seconds, then slowly released it.
I started walking again, slower this time, aware of every step I took. My first steps into a new life.
When I got to my office, I went inside and shut the door.
I thought about a time before, a time where my whole future was open. I had so many ideas and possibilities of what I could choose for my life. I had forgotten them all. And now, as I sat, alone, quiet, there was space for the first time in years.
I had no thoughts in my head, no never-ending list of things to do, take care of, or have taken care of. I wondered what would show up.
Did I even like my job? Did I desire to take care of anyone anymore, let alone the needs of a whole town? What did I desire to do now? Would I choose the same old thing because it was what I had done for so long?
A knock at the door broke my reverie.
The door opened and my deputy entered only for long enough to drop a file on my desk, and place a cup before me.
"This came in this morning." He said, backed out , and closed the door.
I took a sip, and opened the report.
There may have been another death in town.
The postman had come in early this morning with a concern. He had stated that mail was piling up at a home along his route. He would usually see the resident in question either at the door to collect his mail, or along his route walking his dog. He had not seen him for a week.
I checked the address: I knew this home, and the man who lived there.
I set out to take the short walk to the home of the man that may or may not be dead.
When I reached his cottage, first thing I saw was the overstuffed post box on the porch rail. I walked up the steps and knocked at the door.
"Mr. Wickham, are you at home?" I asked. "It's me, Henry."
No reply came, not even a bark from his dog, so I checked the door. It was unlocked which did not concern me as we lived in a very safe community.
The old door creaked open and I stepped inside.
I took a sniff. Usually, when we receive reports about the older residents, it means a death. I smelled none of that here. In fact, the home felt empty, not just of inhabitants, but of the energy of life.
I had come once or twice to visit Mr. Wickham, as part of my rounds. When I do not see some of our older citizens around town, I like to check in on them to make sure they are alright.
I walked through his home just to make sure it was indeed empty, and arrived back in the room where I started.
Sitting in the middle of the room, was a filing cabinet.
I thought it odd that it should be sitting here in the middle of the room so I approached it to take a look.
The top drawer stood open. I peered inside.
I could not believe my eyes. I rubbed my balled up fists in them, thinking it must be some trick of light, or my newly freed brain.
I opened them and looked inside the drawer once againg.
There was a universe in there. I saw space, stars, nebulae. I saw a planet come into view. Things were not moving necessarily, it was more my perspective that was moving.
I reached inside, tentatively, slowly moving my fingers ever closer the deep blue black punched with light and color.
I pulled my hand back out. What would happen if I touched it?
I sat back in the chair. I thought about how my life had been and where it might be going. I thought of how my future had suddenly changed from one moment to the next, then twenty years later changed again. Did I really want to wait another twenty?
I let out a chuckle. "What a numb brain you are, Henry. Do you really think reaching into a filing cabinet is a risk? Or life changing for that matter?" I laughed a bit louder, hearing a bit of nervousness in my voice.
I got up, took the two steps to the cabinet. I peered inside.
I backed up quickly and sat back down. "What?"
The scene had changed!
How how how can that be? It went against all rational thought. It went against all that I ever thought possible, yet, here it was, and here I was. Was I losing my mind?
The drawer now contained what appeared to be the inside of some sort of space vehicle. I saw equipment, chairs, windows, and knew it must have been from where I was looking the first time I peered inside the top drawer.
I sat there thinking about the choice before me. To reach in? To not reach in?
There really were many more choices that would follow each one of those aren't there?
If I choose not to reach in, I remove the filing cabinet to the station, or I leave it and we close off the house. I remove the filing cabinet then what? I leave it and turn myself over for examination?
The choices following each choice keep on growing, the possibilites multiplying until it is like a mirrored room where you look at endless reflections of you looking at endless refections of you.
Somehow I knew the choice to reach in just might change my life as I knew it. I started to wonder if whatever had happened to Mr. Wickham was due to this filing cabinet.
When I thought of choosing to reach in, I could not perceive what choices may come after. It would be a leap into the unknown from a life that had previously had every minute of every day planned out.
If I chose this, what else would be possible?
I sat for quite some time thinking about choosing, and in the end realized that in the not choosing, I was also making a choice. A choice to do nothing, which honestly, felt good, safe.
I made myself rise up out of the chair. I had made my choice.
I left the cottage and quickly walked back to my office.
" Mr. Wickham is on holiday. There was evidence of a planned trip on his counter. I am going to head home early, not myself today, going to take a few vacation days as well."
I was met with no resistance. My staff was capable and things rarely happened in our little hamlet.
I went home and set about gathering a few things.
I changed my clothes into something I thought I might like to be wearing when I reached into the unknown. Jeans and my favorite tee shirt should do.
I grabbed a small pack with a few essentials. Well, what I thought may be essential, really having no idea if I would ever require essentials again.
Waiting for night to fall, I took some time going through some things in my home. I looked at old photos that were about, made a meal, then set an alarm and took a nap.
When I awoke, it was twilight. Perfect. Most people would be arriving at home, and making supper, not walking about the town.
My own home happened to be only two streets over from Mr. Wickham's so the walk was quick.
I went inside.
A light was coming from the top drawer of the filing cabinet. I stood at the door for a moment, second guessing myself. If I peered inside, it would likely be the interior of the craft I saw earlier. My feet felt glued to the floor.
"Go." I said out loud to myself.
I walked over to it, I looked inside.
There it was, the inside of the craft. I took my hand, saw it shaking a bit, and reached in anyway.
I reached through the fear, through the memories of the life I have not lived, through the silence in the room, and into the scene I saw in the top drawer of the filing cabinet.
I felt a tug...
About the Creator
Musings and imaginings from the brain of a fifty something year old Gemini who sold everything and moved to Los Angeles in 2018.
I am no professional, I write because it brings me joy, release, and peace.
The character set up was good, the events leading through the story were good, anything that keeps my interest in writing is good ................. then the story stopped. Now I'm left with wonderment on what happened. It's a bit like reading a great book where the hero gets killed.