Our daring protagonist made it through his thirtieth birthday unscathed except for that continual nagging sensation, somewhere deep in his cranium. That sensation one would get if one had forgotten whether the hob had been turned off, or a candle had been left burning. That sensation had characterized his stream of consciousness for too long.
He imagined the content of his days as Tetris blocks falling from the sky, a straight piece of eight hours in the office. The awkward S shaped blocks that might be his social life, crammed into unoccupied spaces or abridging difficult relationships. A T shaped block might be a productive period at the end of the day, or it might signify four hours of computer games when he had vowed to catch up on his reading. The blocks kept plummeting down relentlessly and only occasionally did he manage to fill up enough gaps for a horizontal line.
His dad got better, or at least discharged from hospital. He took the train home to see him. It was strange and disconcerting seeing his dad walking with a stick, moving from room to room as though looking for something he might have lost. His father’s dozing in front of the TV seemed to happen that little bit more frequently these days and his father’s speech was that little bit quieter and that little bit softer. The doctors were still baffled by whatever had caused the collapse.
Whilst he was home he walked to the next village, to the pub there. The moon was fat and white over the wheat fields, like an old woman’s face. The wheat stalks swayed in the evening air. Somewhere in a back lane a dog barked. The sound carried far in the stillness. He felt he could get his head together here, away from the city. The continual drum of traffic had been getting to him. Here there was only a Zen garden of calm. He could cope with that.