Short story: An irritating habit

His mind had the irritating habit of touching things and people with words except anything that was too close to him.
After the short blur of the morning, his mind would set off to work seeking underneath, above and around things and people to find that new scent. For him there was no such thing as a short or a long break. He could have been under the worst weather, stuck in traffic, mouth filled with a cheese burger, as long as oxygen got to his brain, his mind played and poked with things and people.
He soon found out that he was having the best time of his life, looking and poking things and people with his mind. He never expected to meet any obstacles. The idea of obstruction to his fun was simply preposterous and he would flick it out of his head by smoothing down his black and curly hair.
He had finally established for himself and those around him a smooth and well-paced life that he came to believe himself to be the master of his destiny. Since he was quite observant about his own habits, he also started taking notes of other people’s habits. It is this note taking that always kept him distracted at dinner and breakfast tables, and for some obscure reasons and despite his acute abilities of delving into the psyche of those around him, he remained nonetheless completely unaware of how irritating anyone found him when having dinner or breakfast with him. He was told innumerable of times that if he was to abandon that habit of his, he would be the most pleasant company, and he argued that the progress of science depended on his note taking and that his present company should agree to suffer a few minutes of neglect while he recorded observations that could one day benefit the whole humanity. His wife would usually smile at this speech she has heard their whole marriage. He would write down: “contempt and disbelief at the progress of humanity. No one is a prophet in his own house.” They were at their favorite Thai restaurant, she liked it because like her bedroom manners have shown some fire in her otherwise routine life and he liked it because for the first few years they came, it seemed that there was no shortage for him of characters and behaviors to record:

Miss F. should really change her oculist because she always bump into that door on her way out, but she’s always has a smile and a dollar for that homeless guy who hangs out at the corner, I wouldn’t be surprised if she has handed her a $50 dollars bill thinking it’s a five dollars bill.

Mr. G. tends to fall asleep mid sentences and then wakes up to join in the conversation so smoothly that no one thinks of it as an issue anymore. He should see a neurologist about it and maybe a psychologist while he’s at it because he can’t stop hitting on other people’s wives despite his graying hair.

Miss. B…

“George, I’m going to spend some time with my mother that is if you care to know where I am. I can’t take it anymore, I have tried everything, but I have had it. Adieu George.”

“Give her my salutations” he replied without looking up from his notes. They had returned home that night and George had changed and quickly retired in his study room. He didn’t see the tears running down her cheeks or hear the taxi that she had called earlier to take her to the airport.

When he finally got ready to go to bed and he noticed the light of the kitchen still lit, he called for his wife, Martha: “Hey, darling what are you still doing in the kitchen at this hour of the night?” he didn’t get a reply. He walked a few steps toward his bedroom and stopped suddenly. He felt a tingle down his spine. Something was out of balance. A piece had come out of joints but he couldn’t, for the life of him, figure out what that could have been. He returned to his study and saw that all his papers were in order. He went downstairs, checked the living room, dining room, the windows and the doors and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. He was so absorbed in his thoughts that he went to his bedroom that was dark, and thinking that she was asleep and not wanting to disturb her, he tiptoed to his side of the bed and slipped as quietly as he could and soon took off in the land of dreams, a frown still lingering for the unsolved itch he just got.

His dreams were the most disturbing he has ever had as his life was replayed in front of his eyes, but all of a sudden, all the sadness, tears, anger and frustration, missed meals, ignored conversations and questions, her talks with friends and her mother, all came rushing like a locomotive that he saw coming but noticed it too late to do anything about it. He woke up screaming: “Martha!!!!” The name seemed to shake the whole house and inside him like never before.  What have I done, he thought to himself. What have I done?

Words had scattered away to the corners of his mind and reality (other than his) seeped in slowly and painfully. He was going to need a different armor other than the one he’s been carrying around.

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