September 9, 1992
He took a deep breath and stretched back,
almost tipping over his desk chair backwards, catching himself at the last
minute. These late nights were not doing him any good; however that was the only
time that he seemed to be able to find to think and to write. With two little
kids who required his time it was difficult to accomplish anything until 10 pm.
He knew that it was important that they had his time; too many children go
through life never feeling that their parents think they are important. Besides,
his kids were the greatest. He loved spending time with them. It was an amazing
process to him, watching them grow up. Every day it seemed there was some new
development or revelation for them and he loved seeing the "lights"
turn on. Although, the peace and quiet of his office at night was a joy all its
Tonight, something was missing. Something was missing from the mood, the atmosphere. It was like an essential element was missing from the air in the room. He got up and went over to the little stereo that sat on one of the bookcases in the back of the room and started digging through the myriad of cassettes that at the moment were in no order at all. In fact, many of them were not even in the correct cases.
Earlier in the evening he could have gone for some rock & roll; he had a penchant for old U2. He had listened to "War" so many times in the last week, and still wasn't tired of it. In fact he had just ordered the CD from the music club he belonged to, as he was tired of dealing with the scratches and imperfections of his home-dubbed tape. But not tonight. Doors, perhaps? No... he had recently watched the Oliver Stone movie, and while Val Kilmer is always fun to watch, the tone of the movie had cast a temporary sourness on the music.
No, a night like this needed something a little more ethereal... jazz, perhaps. Something mellow, though; Seawind was a little to punchy. He chose one old TDK and put it in, listened to a few strains of Shadowdance. No, that didn't do it. When in doubt, throw on some Van Morrison. He dug through the pile and found Poetic Champions. He turned the volume down low so as not to wake anyone and returned to his desk.
The computer was turned on and the Wordstar menu glared at him. He had a couple of letters he wanted to write, but again, was not in the mood. He stared at the list of files. What was some of this crap? It looked like housecleaning time. He knew this was basically non-profitable time, but he found just messing around was relaxing, if nothing else. Wordstar was such a pain to delete files with. He exited and typed era *.bak. That should help a lot. There was nothing worse than spending an hour or two writing and finding out you don't have enough disk space to save it. Let's see... 280k left. That should hold him for a while. One of these days he would invest in a new unit, with Windows and colors and icons and mouses. He had always hated that user-friendly stuff-- there was no logic to it-- but it was the way of the future.
He got back into Wordstar and into the essay he was writing on marriage. He was not completely satisfied with it (of course he knew he never would be) and had done numerous rewrites. He usually began by reading what he had already written, and editing the heck out of it so he often had no time to add anything new. The writing served a couple of purposes: one, he just wanted to write. It was an urge for him, to create with words. He just wasn't that good at it. So the more he practiced, the better he hoped he would get.
Also, he had developed some pretty good notes on marriage, although most was still in his head. He knew it was good information, and that if he didn't write it down, it would eventually be lost in the recesses of his mind (a scary thought). So why not put it into essay form? Perhaps if he got into it it may grow into a book. He could always use the money, and more important, he had that desire to see his name in print that was common to many writers. And the money would not hurt.
There was still something missing. He just could not relax. Relaxation was not integral to productive writing, but in the absence of inspiration (which was particularly lacking this evening) relaxation was essential. If the night were a little warmer (or if he had started earlier) a cold Samuel Adams would have been perfect. However this evening was cooling down nicely on its own, and he was not one to drink beer unless the conditions were right.
The music was distracting. He was often concerned at night that it was too loud and would wake the baby, whose crib lay on the other side of his office wall. Coffee! Of course, why hadn't he thought of it earlier? Let's see... he always had some Kenya AA on hand, but tonight called for something special. He did not care for flavored coffee as a rule, but preferred a pure, quality roast. He thought he had just enough Starbucks Gazebo blend to make about a cup and a half, which was just right for this time of night. Caffeine did not bother him most of the time, and he even would make a pot of espresso at times to accompany a good late-night book.
He headed down the hallway, lit by light from the hall bathroom where his wife was relaxing in the tub. He stopped for a moment, leaned against the door frame. "Hi," she said, noticing his presence, "What are you doing?" "Just looking at you." He could spend hours looking at his wife, who was the most beautiful women he had ever seen. He recalled before they were dating; he would just stare at her, and feel his heart melt inside. It still happened. He was continually amazed at how beautiful God had created woman's body; a gift intended solely for her husband. It was a gift he did not take for granted, and took every advantage to appreciate his wife's beauty.
"See you" she said, hinting that she was growing uncomfortable at being watched. He smiled, and took the opportunity to tease her. After a short exchange, he moved along to the kitchen and prepared his coffee, taking advantage of the time to make a sandwich for tomorrow's lunch. Selecting his favorite mug, he headed back to his study.
He reviewed his essay, or what there was of it. It was fair, he thought, and ready for reading by a few select critics. A few finishing remarks and he had it printing. He headed back out to the kitchen to refresh his coffee before what remained in the pot got too old. With the cost of good coffee, you could not let it go to waste. His wife by this time was in her pajamas reading the paper on the living room couch. She readily accepted his offer of a back massage and they used the time to discuss the day and life in general. He broke the rhythm of the massage to take another sip of coffee, which drew some complaints from his wife. "Beggars can't be choosers." "Yes, they can!"
Again, he took advantage of the massage to admire his wife. She had the most wonderful skin, and he loved the way her hair looked against it. His hands moved from her neck and spine out to her shoulders and upper arms. There was a sweetness to their relationship that he knew few couples ever experienced, which he knew to be the blessing of God. It filled the air sometimes when they were together, lifting them out of the world into that mystical place where two were one.
Life was good.
Copyright © 1992, 2001 alden swan, All Rights Reserved. Reproduction of this article, in whole or in part, is expressly forbidden without prior written permission.