He wondered: why does the sound of footsteps in the lineoleum floor always sound louder post-call? He'd have get a change to buy new shoes, he thought - ones with better arch support and without those slippery leather soles. Maybe this weekend. Then, like a stroke patient noting faint hyperesthesias, he felt the sticky diaphoresis beneath a shirt worn too many hours in a row.
Can't forget to pick up the dry cleaning, too.
Day in, day out for a week at a time he marched this march, the end of a long week had finally come and he took a deep breath, hoping he hadn't forgotten anything. He entered the parking lot: where was his car again? Oh, that's right - wrong level. He changed course. More footsteps, more sweat. There it was. Opening the door he realized it needed a wash and a good vacuum, too. Couldn't worry about that now, she needed him home. Guests coming. What was he supposed to pick up again? Oh, yeah, a baguette. Wine, cheese. It is nice to reenter civilization, to forget about life for a while.
After his errand he headed home. Dusk settling. The soft glow of the porch lights showered the walk with a yellowish hue that accented the tint now visible on the autumn leaves. The squirrels continued on their risky suicide missions to bury their winter snacks. A solitary cricket gave it his last before the final quieting chill set in. Why should be more aware of these things than before?
Perhaps it is the quiet, the uninterrupted time to think, the lazy yet relentless pace of common life that offsets the days of schedules, commitments, and procedures. Better: it is the welcome expectation that these sounds will be unpunctured by the startling cry from his beeper.
But before his head could sink amongst the pillows, he had to rally once more. Game-face donned, he charged up the steps with baguette in hand. Things were in full swing. Welcome! Then a toast, a nice meal, then a goodbye as eyes quickly drooped. The dishes could wait, but the dog, unhurried, was oblivious: one more body with which to attend.
Then finally, with doors locked, the lights were extinguished. As the stairs were scaled, he noted the wood floors were warmer and softer than the linoleum. Noisier, too. No matter: it was home. And at long last he took a seat and reclined to his final encounter of the day ...
... with the calm, sweet darkness of the back of his eyelids.