Thursday, June 30, 2011

Excerpts from The Arrival

The arrival came as a surprise.  It shook the foundations.  Reverberated the walls.  Rearranged the order of the land.
Mortal eyes were not prepared for such a scene.

4:00am he woke, as he did every morning, not by choice, but by routine.  Upon relieving the overnight buildup, he would return to his room, get under the covers, for three more hours of uninhibited sleep.

At 5:30am she had yet to get to sleep.  She works the 7:00pm to 3:00am shift at the factory.  Last night she gladly accepted the two hours of overtime.  It was like a gift from God, as she is quickly approaching three months overdue.  She’s already received several notices from the bank. 

A man came over last week, unannounced, in a worn out grey sweatshirt and blue jeans.  She was doing some finishing touches on her garden.  She saw the man, whom she had never in her thirty years at this address seen before, walking his dog, a Bullmastiff or perhaps simply a Mastiff, she loves dogs but always had trouble separating one breed apart from another similar in lineage.  She thought nothing of this innocent enough looking man walking his dog.  She figured he must be the new neighbor from three blocks down, as she had seen the moving vans parked in the driveway of the smallish orange-rust colored ranch for about a few days now.  So, when he said hello, introducing himself, she naturally, as any good neighbor would do, stopped picking the weeds from her flower garden and got up from her now soiled over kneecaps and arose to approach the stranger. She didn’t have to make her way the entire distance to the sidewalk, as this “new neighbor” met her half the way. 

She said hello and pet the very affectionate beast of a dog.  She barely made eye contact with her new friend as her attention shared its focus upon this beautifully crafted animal and the watch her son gave her two Christmas’ ago. 

It was already 3:00pm and she would soon have to hop in the shower, prettying herself up for the long evening ahead.  The small talk was brief before she announced she would have to take leave of him, in order to get ready for work. 

The man quickly changed the tone of the, up until this point, pleasant conversation.  He now identified himself as a representative in the debt recovery department for the bank she did business with.  He explained that over the past two months several phone calls made on the banks behalf were unreturned.  He also mentioned that several letters, offering assistance, had been sent but never corresponded to.  She was upset.  She called the man a few names. It also appeared she instantly became a bit angry at the dog, but this could only be inferred from a not so loving gaze directed in his direction. 

The one time stranger, now loathsome henchman, finished up the conversation by letting her know that if the payments hit ninety days her home would begin foreclosure proceedings.  A process there was no turning back from. 

It was the seventy-seventh day. 

She knew she didn’t have to pay all three months right away, but according to this man, she would have to pay two months before the eighty-ninth day ended.  She had exactly seventy dollars in change, which she kept in an oversized jar, a savings account for the trip she was hoping to take, where she would get to see her son, many states removed from the place she was at currently.  She would have a check for six hundred dollars, which she would receive on Friday and a separate one, in the same amount, the following week.  But even with these checks, she would still be nine hundred short, and that’s only if she starved herself.  She was extremely frazzled by this looming deadline, so she gladly accepted any and all the overtime the factory would extend her way.  It was 5:30am and in a few hours none of this would matter anymore.

These are but two of the lives that changed at 7:00am, on the day of the arrival.

So many people were standing amidst the wreckage at 7:10am.  Nothing stood.  The shaking was so intense, every foundation crumbled.  Everything had returned to the origin point.  A massive cleanup would soon begin.  No explanations.  Just an arrival that went unseen, by everybody, everybody except for one.

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