This week’s one-word prompt:
Manipulate (transitive verb)
3: to change by artful or unfair means so as to serve one’s purpose : to doctor.
I apologize for the delay in “coming ’round,” and as always, I do hope that you enjoy. Please also take a moment to check out the latest issue of Woven Tale Press – a talented group of writers and artists whom I am honored to say asked me this last time to sit in with them…
The room was cold, barren and obsolete. But in all honesty, he no longer cared.
He’d grown accustomed to life being unpleasant, accustomed to being alone. So acutely and irrevocably alone.
He woke every morning to the knowledge of it. The voices, wisp-like prancing through his awakening thoughts of once happy children being overheard, as they scrabbled haphazardly down the stairs, were now just distant and dust-filled memories – cruel mental prompts of the life that had been wrenched from him. The life that he had once made, the life that he’d let slip through his damned fingers by trusting her that one last time.
Even the cats who unwillingly boarded with him seemed to keep their peace when first he woke, as if to allow him uninterrupted, his unwelcome reverie.
In years previous, he could manipulate the experience – pretending that he still owned a life that he no longer did. Squeezing his eyes closed hard against his brain, he’d pretend once more that his measly two-bedroom flat was again the two-story estate where he shared in his children’s daily laughter and delight. But eventually, and no matter how heartening the experience, his eyes would once again have to open, the invading light, daily stealing away all his hope. The silent cats would stare quizzically at him from the bed’s foot, wondering why this man made such odd moanings every morning while from his eyes leaking so much useful water. Squeezing his eyes closed hard against his brain, the exercise had become tiring. The ruse had become self-evident, and as a result, he eventually gave it up altogether.
In fact, he eventually gave up on everything altogether. He surmised – somewhat logically – that if this life already so closely mirrored the Godless one he presumed to follow, then what earthly difference could it make for him in forestalling from moving on from this one into the next?
And even in this final unpleasantry, as he surrendered the felines remained resolutely mute.