Jacob reached for a cigarette, lit it, sucked in the smoke then blew it out through his nose. Good grief, what was he going to do today?
He considered his options. Watch more CNN? No, that was making him agitated and depressed. Take another shower? How many did he need and besides his skin was getting too dry. Think up a friend to call and talk? Ugh. That sounded like work. His wife was busy working in the garden. His kids were all at their jobs. His grandkids were in school.
He stood up and walked to the window. The sun was shining, the temperature was mild. A woman in a pink running suit jogged up the street. Cars passed filled with people who had somewhere to go and something to do. What had happened to him and his destinations? He took another draw from his cigarette. Who needed a retired man in his late sixties for anything? That was what younger people were for, to try new things, fill new vacancies. They had a life ahead of them to build; he had built his, lived it and was now watching the world go by.
The phone rang, he ignored it. More solicitors. Nobody who knew him called on the main line anymore. Not many people called his cell phone. Just his kids for a duty call every couple of weeks.
He ground out his cigarette and stared. What now? He thought he could go to the beach and get some fresh air. Or out to eat just to be around people. Or to the library to get a book. None of those things appealed to him. Instead, he sat down and took a deep breath. He thought of a line he’d often taught to his patients, breathe in calmness; breathe out anxiety. In calmness; out anxiety. Over and over again he did this, breathing deeper each time.
After a few minutes, he noticed the cool air from the ceiling fan, the deep shade of green of the hedge outside the window, the rich smell of the coffee from his cup. “Maybe I’ll go for a walk,” he muttered, then saw his dog’s ears perk up. He sighed, went to find his socks and tennis shoes and the leash. Maybe life wasn’t all that complicated after all.
Just before heading out the door, he walked to the kitchen sink, pulled his package of cigarettes from his pocket, dumped them out and turned on the water. “At least, for right now, I’m not going to smoke.”
His dog was barking with excitement as Jacob fastened the leash. As they stepped outside, he stopped for a moment and felt the warm sun on his face. He took another deep breath. “What do you say, boy, let’s go meet the day. Who knows what we’ll discover if we’ll just slow down and look.”