Ab Absurdum

28Sep08

The gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight.

– The Myth of Sisyphus

He wasn’t sure what he was expecting to see. A rare cosmological event, bright lights, falling frogs even; anything to break the status quo the universe seemed hellbent on preserving. The starry night sky amplified his loneliness. The chilly air brought out hitherto repressed memories. Clenching his fists, he muttered a curse, sat down and stared into the distance.

A year back, he had spent all his savings on a rather nice but unimpressive house that blended in with the neighborhood. It wasn’t too gaudy but it was something not every thirty two year old could afford. Determined to settle down early, he had pursued a degree, worked and attempted falling in love all at the same time. He wasn’t entirely unsuccessful and had achieved what he had set out for to an extent by the time he was twenty five; married at twenty seven, mostly because he felt it necessary to do so after courting her for over a year and a half. She was beautiful, smart and ambitious. Beauty and ambition fade. Vanity and pettiness thrive.

Lately, listlessness crept in. Again. The ambiguities and uncertainties of youth had given way to mind-numbing comfort and normalcy. There were no wars to fight, no inner demons to subdue, no women to impress and no goals to strive for. What irked him more than anything else was the fact that his life had gone exactly according to plan.

A boy on a bicycle appeared. He glanced at his watch. Seventeen past twelve.

Pretty late for you to be out isn’t it?”

Yeah, my folks don’t know.”

You should go back in. It’s late…it’s cold.”

Why are you out this late then?”

You first.”

I was bored.”

How old are you?

I’m eleven and a half…what are you doing out?”

Bored too.”

Can’t sleep?”

Yeah, look I’ll take you home.”

I can go by myself. Hey…you should get a bicycle. Beats sitting around doing nothing.”

Uh huh.”

What?”

Never mind. Go home…I’m going back in too.”

He waited for the boy to be out of sight and lit a cigarette. It was all absurd. Everything. He smiled and realized the epiphany warranted revolt. Camus would concur.

Putting out the cigarette, he walked back to his door and noiselessly turned the knob. He tiptoed to the bedroom and saw her sleeping silhouette. Calm. Almost other worldly. It hadn’t been that long since he was sure of the life he wanted to live. Things had changed. He slowly walked up to the bed and kissed her on the neck. Eyes half open, she turned around.

Where did you go?”

To get a glass of water. Go back to sleep. I’m buying a bicycle tomorrow.”

What?”

Go back to sleep.”

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4 Responses to “Ab Absurdum”

  1. 1 ramblingperfectionist

    Love that you managed to weave a happy ending 🙂
    Your protagonists never seem to have career ambitions, do they?

  2. Did you notice your related posts? o_O

  3. 3 ArtyP

    you know, for a guy who can’t keep a straight face during a horror film, you’re pretty depressing.

    “He slowly walked up to the bed and kissed her on the neck.”

    that’s pretty sweet. just sounds creepy when you say it. 😀 see you soon!

  4. 4 Charl

    Ooooh! I just got myself some Camus two weeks ago! Exile and the Kingdom–it’s on the back burner currently, but nice coincidence nevertheless.

    The Myth of Sisyphus? Totally fascinating. I was just reading this critical essay on nyu.edu, cause I’m already working on background before I actually start on Camus; it talks about meaninglessness with the persistence and the love of life primarily in this context. Ah.

    Oh I digressed from actual point of my comment with all that blathering: I’m not sure people in general would actually tie the quote and the story to get the existential aspect, which is well, the crux… What I’m saying is, to fully appreciate the point you’re making, you’d need to be aware of what Sisyphus was all about. But then I guess the same can be said for so much art…bleh. Ignore me.


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