Life Between Clouds and Feathers – the end of the day (5)

On the treadmill. The rhythmic thump of his feet provides more peace of mind for Connor. Sweat is running down his body in rivulets and is caught in the fibers of his workout clothes. Running. Nothing but running. His eyes are glued to his record collection. It is organized by alphabet. It is time to organize it by color of the cover. Although, it becomes harder to find what you are looking for that way. Maybe organizing it by year of release? But then there is the dilemma with re-releases. Connor keeps running and thinking. Until he stops thinking and just runs. It is as if his body knows exactly what to do and for once, his brain isn’t needed. A euphoric bliss settles like a calming veil over Connor’s heart. Forgotten – or repressed, are today’s events. He slows down and blinks hard a couple of times. He grabs his towel and wipes his face twice before he finally comes to a complete halt. Connor is conscious of every muscle in his body. He hears the blood pumping through his veins, carrying oxygen to every organ. But he feels good. Elated. Positively exhausted.
Breathe in. The sign on the floor in his bedroom reads. Connor obeys and undresses. He folds his clothes and puts them in a hamper. Breathe out; says the sign on the bathroom floor. Again he obeys before he gets in the shower stall. The water rains down on his neck, and he moans. This is relaxing, even more so after his excessive workout. Connor stands motionless until the water begins to turn cold. He washes himself and turns off the tap.
As soon as he is dressed, his mind starts racing again. His internal battle over events he cannot change continues until it is interrupted by a knock at the door. Another knock. Yet another knock, followed by words. “I’m sorry Connor. Don’t open the door, but I brought your book. I cleaned it and put it in a plastic bag. Putting it on the doormat is safe. Really, I am sorry. It was good to see you. You look amazing. Anyway. I’ll leave. I’ll text you later. Goodbye, Connor.” Connor listened to Thomas’s words with his ear pressed against the door that was separating them. Thomas understands Connor’s need for certain things to happen in a certain way. Thomas knows Connor. Too well.
The moment Connor hears the retreating footsteps, he opens the door. Thomas hasn’t lied. The book is in a clear plastic bag. On the doormat. Connor picks it up, and looks left and right, up and down the hallway. No one is there. “Thank you,” he whispers. Connor puts the book on the coffee table and stares at it suspiciously. Nothing happens. He runs a hand through his hair, a new battle taking place in his head. What if he texted Thomas first? He pretends that he deleted the number. And it’s true, he did. But, there are the call logs. And although there is no name with the number anymore, Connor knows exactly whose it is. Quickly, as if the letters are burning his fingers, and the words on the screen are poison for his eyes, he types “Thank you, Thomas”. He turns off the messaging app, mutes the phone and puts it – display facing down – next to the book. His leg begins bouncing up and down. His thumb finds a way to his mouth where his teeth gnaw at the skin and the nail. Off-kilter. This day needs to end.

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