Day 269 – The Salesman – Part 2

Word count: 761

The dishes were dirty, trash needed taken out and the kettle had blown its fuse that morning. Brian’s hands were crinkly with water as he tried to unblock the sink. In the background the TV was blaring; some commercials between another re-run of some comedy show. The apartment had returned to its natural state: a complete state. The whole place wept with neglect.

The wallpaper was peeling from the paste in a sad flop; the furniture was rotting away as if being consumed by the stale air around it. These floors had been walked across to much to hurt any more, but they still cried, though they never said why. Brian stood in the shadow of his apartment walls, once the beauty that made him smile in his dreams. Withdrawing his hands from the sink, he rested pathetically against the worktop as he stared right into the grubby little bedroom door and saw the dilapidated bed that used to mean so much. Beneath the sheets he used to watch as his wife woke up in the morning, an early shift at the hospital for her. Her hair would fall over their shoulders and it wouldn’t matter to either of them if the shower ran cold or the kettle died. It wouldn’t matter if the heating froze in the middle of the winter, the breaths turning to ice as they shivered together under the covers.
The curtains in the bedroom sighed with the evening wind billowing in, a snake of sunshine slithering briefly across the pillows. It had been two months since had slept in that bed with her. What happened to those nights where he would kiss Teresa until the morning light; until the alarm clock failed and they were late for work. Where had those days gone?
His focus fell to the sofa-bed, springs escaping through the fabric. A crumpled old second hand paperback sat on the arm, a vigil to those sleepless nights where he would lie awake and listen to his wife tossing and turning, neither asleep or awake. But the plug needed unblocking and the madness upon her return would not be worth it. He returned his attention to the problem at hand, forgetting the cracks underneath.
The sale did not work out today. Another day without reward or pay. The smart walk or the charming smile was fast beginning to fade. What was there to do? The middle aged man with the wife that made him sleep on the sofa; the childless man who had left school too early, never went to college or had a qualification against his name. He’d never been anywhere, never done anything; his parents lived round the corner, the TV was their best friend. He never ate out, he never had a quick drink down the pub. There were no friends to call and only his colleagues ever asked how he was.
It was the saddest existence. The handyman husband kept only to repair the falling down apartment. Tomorrow would be another day and perhaps it might just be the day his boss took him aside and had that talk he’d threatened. But who could sell these things to old women with no life insurance? Who could wander into someone’s home and lie to them straight in the face; to offer the rewards points for schemes that they weren’t eligible for; to show them brochures of apartments already sold, of yachts vastly exaggerated in size and value for money.
It was just a job, he told himself every night; just wear the smile and let the job talk itself; don’t ask questions and don’t seek answers; keep it light and keep it separate: customers are not really people.
Soon the sun would wave goodbye behind the clouds and then the curvature of the Earth itself. The moon would rise and everything would shine in a glistening silver, as magnificent as the bed times stories he used to be told as a child; as romantic as the late nights with his fiancé, before the loved turned sour. And there would lie, forever in the black, a missed moment he should have taken.
Brian dried his hands with a tea towel and put the dishes back by the sink. Sadness yawned in his heart. The sofa called to him. He sat down on and set his alarm clock for the morning. The salesman smile would come, no matter what, as assured as the sun would rise, and his wife would return, pissed off and unamused that the dishes were once again not done.

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~ by S.G. Mark on July 2, 2012.

One Response to “Day 269 – The Salesman – Part 2”

  1. …very moving. This picture you’ve painted is so well expressed, almost too well… I’m rattled, saddened.

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