Tuesday, November 1, 2016

No Man is an Island

Neither can we call this a begging of misery, or a borrowing of misery, as though we were not miserable enough of ourselves, but must fetch in more from the next house, in taking upon us the misery of our neighbours. Meditation 17, John Donne.

His small transistor radio sat next to him on the park bench. It played 50s, 60s and 70s tunes mixed in with car sales and pawn shop ads.  Harvey sat absently listening and watching the leaves drift and swirl to the ground. He felt like those leaves. For the first time, he couldn't write a love poem. He really couldn't write anything. 

So he sat with his small notebook on his lap. Finally, he closed his eyes and thought of when met her. He was applying for the maintenance position...

"Harvey, right?" She stood over him, partially blocking the sun. 
"Yes, yes, that's right. I'm Harvey." He replied.
"I thought so. I saw you a few times around the building, mostly fixing the damage from that lunatic concierge." She said.
"Well, sometimes matters need to be settled quickly.  At least that's what Ms. Davis says." He replied.
Jenn chuckled. "I'd say that was true. Jenn, my name is Jenn," and she reached out a hand.
Harvey was a bit startled at the firmness of her grip. "Hello" is all he could manage. 
"You trying to get away from everyone complaining about the water situation?"
"Actually, I'm suffering from writer's block."
Jenn sits down on the bench next to him. "Well, now that's a first."
"I can't seem to get the words out that have always been there. It's like this city, they've dried-up."
"What do are you trying to write?"
"Poems? To someone?"
He hesitates, looks out into the park and the changing colors and says, "Ms. Davis."
Jenn sits back, chuckles again. "Well, that's another first." 
She leans over in his direction and says, "Have you got anything yet?"

1 comment:

  1. Jenn hummed to herself as she unlocked the door to her apartment. She’d gone to the park on her first day off in months- mandated by Dr. Green- only to find Harvey taking up her normal bench. She’d meant to turn away, find another spot, but… he’d looked so forlorn, sitting there with a blank sheet of paper. Never mind that he was in love with their curmudgeon of a concierge. Jenn knew all about loving the wrong person. It was part of why she was here and not there, anymore.
    Jenn shook off her reminiscence like a dog shook off water. Think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure. Elizabeth Bennet always was a favorite of hers.
    So. Jenn cast a critical eye around her kitchen, grabbed a banana and a bottle of water and flopped down on the couch. She was almost asleep when the knock came at her door.
    “Whoizzit?” Jenn called blearily as she extracted herself from the blanket she’d been lying under and stumbled to the door. A very large eye stared back at her through the peephole.
    “It’s me.” A voice called unhelpfully from the other side. Jenn opened the door to Harvey. He was holding a crinkled piece of paper in his right hand, and he shoved it nervously at her. “I wrote you something.” A little bemused, Jenn took it from him, and then stood there for a second. I thought he was writing poems for Ms. Davis? A bit of her confusion must have shown in her face, because Harvey began to explain. “Well, my writer’s block, you know, it didn’t go away when you helped me. But after you left, I was thinking about how nice it was of you, you know, to stop and help, and then, well. It kind of just wrote itself.” He gestured shyly at the paper in Jenn’s hand.
    Jenn couldn’t stop the small smile from escaping. Harvey beamed at her in response. In for a penny, in for a pound. “Harvey… I’ve got some bottled water and leftovers in the fridge. Would you like to come in?”
    Five minutes later, they were seated at her small kitchen table, talking over dinner, still musing over Harvey’s writer’s block.
    “So are you over your writer’s block completely, then?”
    “I don’t know if it’s really writer’s block. I think…” Harvey hesitated to say it. “I think… I think I’m just burnt out. On Ellen.”