We all get the newspaper at the same time. Right after we wake up, put on our slippers and our robes, and drink our coffee. The same coffee. One ounce of cream and two cubes of sugar. The coffee our beautiful wives make after they wake up, put on their slippers and their robes. Only now, it seems they all laugh. Those friendly neighborhood smiles with which Johnson smiled at Smith and Smith smiled at Wilson at our mailboxes, in our sickeningly green yards, turned to malice, laughter. They turned to imperfection and rule-breaking.
It started half a year ago. I started today. I started writing right now. This moment, this day, this unlawful second. On this unlawful laptop, in my recently unlawful life. I sat down today. After I woke up, put on my slippers and my robe. After I drank my coffee, which I made myself. And I didn't bother to get the paper. No. Not yet, not until I finish writing.
I find it amazing how, in just six months, an entire life can change. Well, that's a lie. I wouldn't have cared if it had been someone else's life, but it's mine. My life. I don't understand where the breaking point was. What insignificant detail of putting on my slippers or getting the mail or driving to work, which one messed everything I had up.
Let me start again.
It was about six months ago, in the autumn of my thirtieth year. Here, the seasons seem both exaggerated and mild. Somehow, it's always summer, but then everyone still totes a sweater in November and a coat in January. And no matter how hot it is, or how sunny, it always snows on Christmas and the winter fires are always lit. But I don't need to go on about winter yet. It was late September.
The trees hadn't turned colour yet, and the sky remained its blue, and I went out to get the paper. The paper, I seem to be coming back to that one a lot. I was not yet to my concrete driveway when Robert Wilson shouted to me, waved, and smiled from the sanctity of his own lawn. The bright green lawn that matched his bright green robe and slippers. I waved back. I even smiled back. And I even smiled and waved to James Smith and John Johnson, as was our daily custom.