Sunday, November 25, 2012

He Leads Me to Still Waters and Green Pastures

When his tirade ended, Tartmouth holstered his smoking tongue and stormed from the room. He left his crumpled, wretched wife to compose her brokenness the best she could. Because his sadistic slants of seething sarcasm reduced her to tears, he mentally entered two notches into his hardened heart. In his tormented thinking, tears merited that reward.

As Tartmouth left the kitchen, he grabbed a beer from the fridge and headed for his recliner. His recliner, a microcosm of his life, sat in the living room. It sported bald spots and broken springs, suggestions of an attempt to support the dead weight of a fruitless existence. It faced Tartmouth’s escape; a television set. His remote, with most of the inscribed numbers worn smooth, lay an arms reach away on an end table. It was a symbol of an unresponsive life trying to find the channel of fulfillment.   
An onslaught on the can of beer drained it, and he leaned his torso against the back of the recliner. He fell asleep; his raucous snore a possible indicator of his inner turmoil that instigated frequent nightmares...

A sign above the wide gate fronting the pathway read, "The Valley of Death." He wondered where he was, where the path led, and what the sign meant. He looked for a clue or another path but to no avail. “Have only one option,” he said, and entered through the gate to encounter the yawning path.

He began his trek and the width of the path allowed Tartmouth plenty of walking space. However, the thick tangled vegetation along the sides and over the pathway limited his vision, and this gave him an eerie feeling. He felt unprotected and that he wasn’t alone.
Something brushed his chest and caught his eye. “What are you?” he said, flailing his arms to fend off the attacker. As the onslaught intensified, Tartmouth observed his attackers were like placards with destructive words on them; words like cruel, disgusting, despicable, destroy, and demeaning. The word-entities attacked his chest like they were after his heart. Terror enveloped him as he grasped the plot of this one-act scenario; the word-entities were characteristics of his heart and portrayed him.   

A cry of relief reverberated from deep within him when a new word-entity, “It is Finished,” burst onto the scene. This placard, larger and more powerful than the others, shielded his heart from the attackers and they retreated before it. Likewise, Tartmouth could not resist its potent force. “I give up,” he said. “Please protect me,” and he folded to the ground.
Sometime later he regained consciousness and looked around him. He lay in a dense green pasture adjoining a lake of motionless water. He felt an invite and rolled into the fringe of the waters cool refreshment. It soothed and saturated him with peace. He put his hands across his chest and felt the solid, rhythmic beating of his heart. He lay there safe and secure.

Tartmouth opened his eyes. His shirt, pants, and parts of his recliner were damp with perspiration, and his arms lay like heavy weights. His eyes searched the room for nothing in particular, but they fell on a piece of notebook paper. He picked it up.

The note read: “Tartmouth, you pushed my button one to many times.This dream is over.”
He sagged deeply into his armchair as his mind whirled. He knew his wife would be at her mother’s and would not speak to him; a replay of previous panoramas. As usual, he would call and leave a message. The substance of his dream, though, confronted ,and confused him. He needed to sort it out. He knew that his marriage, and his life for that matter, were in its clutches.

He did, though, have a place to start. He would begin with the safety and security he felt in the still waters of the lake that adjoined the dense green pasture.






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