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Back Porch (standard:drama, 533 words)
Author: bodhisattvaAdded: Jan 30 2002Views/Reads: 1929/1Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
The peak of human existence, on an old man's porch.
 



There is nothing outstanding about Otis' back porch. Eight feet by eight
feet, a wood floor painted gray, a few chairs and a table. The screens 
that enclose it have been repaired more times than he can care to 
remember. The door is old, the paint is cracked and peeling, but he 
doesn't care. 

He would sit on the porch as soon as soon as the weather was warm
enough, and he would stop when the he felt winter coming on. Most 
evenings, after dinner with his wife, he would sit in his chair, on his 
porch, and try to read the newspaper. More often then not, he ended up 
watching the cars go by, waving to the people he knew, and waving to 
those he didn't. 

When he sat on the porch, he looked a certain way, like he belonged
there. Almost as if Otis were there first and the porch was built 
around him. He had a certain timeless quality to him when he sat on his 
porch, as if to say "I may die soon, but it sure as hell won't be on my 
porch." 

Some evenings, he'd sit on the porch with one of his children or
grandchildren, and they'd each have a beer. Talking about how fast the 
world seemed to be moving, but thinking to themselves that the world 
didn't move at all while they were on the porch. 

Each person that sat on Otis' porch to share a beer and a story,
secretly hoped to make that moment in time, that moment in their lives 
longer. To stretch that particular moment in time into something more, 
to live their entire lives in that one moment. For in that moment, they 
have someone's complete attention, they know that Otis is listening to 
every word spoken, and when he speaks he has that person spellbound, 
and nothing else in the world could possibly matter. 

Within those small moments, interwoven into a memory of a time when
nothing else mattered, when the world seemed to stop, those moments 
collected to be greater than the whole of their life. Sitting on Otis' 
back porch, these people held the meaning of life in their hearts, they 
knew the reason for existence in their minds, they learned of true 
happiness in their souls. 

Like the smoke of the cigarette that rested in Otis' hand as a young
man, this intimate knowledge of life and happiness fleeted from his 
visitor's as soon as they stood up to leave, as soon as the moment had 
passed. 

I've been on his back porch more than most, and every time I feel the
pull of time on my soul. The yearning to stay there for the rest of my 
days, in a single moment, pulled to eternity, gets stronger every time 
I'm there. But I haven't been to the back porch in several years, six I 
think. It might be that I'm afraid the next time I go I won't be able 
to leave, that I won't be allowed to. 

Or maybe I won't want to leave, that I'll want to be the one with my
grandpa, living forever in a single moment, caught in time. 


   


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