Still astounded he looked around taking a few seconds to recognize his bedroom. He wondered what time it was and his eyes wandered to the old clock on the wall but, awkwardly, it looked as if the old faithful clock was surrounded by some sort of haze or fog. It took him a few seconds more to realize he was without his glasses. "Silly old me!" he thought while spotting the old fashion spectacles in the little table next to his bed. He was still lying down and he collected all his energy to fetch his "second eyes" and put them on. "Ah!", he said outloud, blinking hard,"This is more like it!" Good morning! Hmmm...or maybe not. It's 18H30..." He laughed softly at his silliness again, and tried to decide what to do next, since he was awake anyway.
"Hmm...probably i should try and get more sleep or a bit of rest". he thought. "Or i could sit on the bed for some reading or maybe some television." But somehow he couldn't find in himself the concentration needed to read about more antics about WWII, or find the patience needed to cope with all the rubbish that went on the television. Anyway he couldn't decide. "So many decisions..."
His mind got caught and distracted by the colourful motif of the quilt he had over him. Lots of spirals and coiled shapes. So out of date nowadays. But he always fancied that quilt. He loved it from the first minute his wife Agnes knitted and sewn it together. And he especially liked those spirals embroidments, and all the coiled shapes it displayed. He used to follow those lines either with his eyes or with his fingers.
Lately, with so many time spent in his bed, he found himself observing the quilt more closely, finding it funny hot it was kind of akin to life itself. Quite a few fabrics thrown together, held by some fine threads that, nevertheless hanged tough, and lots of spirals, coils and labyrinthic shapes. Sometimes the shapes led to one another, sometimes they led nowhere, "kinda like life really", he pondered.
"Oh yes, life is a pretty funny thing. Full of these spiral moments that sometimes lead nowhere, labyrinths that may lead to dead ends, crossroads that demand instant decisions".
Decisions that constantly sprang behind every corner and turn of the sometimes easy, sometimes rocky road. "And this is the world we are thrown in...no one asked us if we wanted it, and sure as hell no one bothered to inform us about its rules. We have to figure them out along the way...and decide. A bit too touch-and-go i'd say...".
Charles was a mere human and as such he was prone to make mistakes, to take the wrong road, to make the wrong decisions. He knew it. He was aware of it almost in a painful way. At least one thing they couldn't accuse him was of being full of himself.
Now, in this particular time of his life, it came only as natural to question those decisions he made along the way. He always exercised his soul searching powers, whatever they might be, trying to determine if he did the right thing. He liked to consider himself a man of principles and, most of all, a man who fought to preserve his nature, his true self, his inner sactuary, if you're into those tacky metaphors. Preserve it from all the attacks and pressures from the outer world. He decided, or tried to decide, bearing in mind this particular trait. Compromises had to be reached sometimes of course, but nevertheless he tried. He remembered what his old swedish friend once told him: "It's a curse and a gift/blessing to have such strong moral values & determination as I do. I can't do anything about it. It's me". Charles related totally with that...he smiled realizing he missed that crazy swede.
But in reality no man is absolutely sure....doubts are bound to happen. "Was i right then and there? Did i choose the best option? Was i terribly mistaken when i took this road and not the other?"
He searched deep, as he did when he was younger, expecting to find some glitch in the system, some terrible mistake, aided by the supposed wisdom he now, supposedly too, possessed.
He came to same conclusion of always. "All i know for sure is that i tried to stay true to myself, i tried my best and gave my best. Maybe that wasn't enough, but it was all i got. Maybe i should've chosen other paths, other words, other actions here and there....but in reality i decided then and there what i saw as best for me. That's already amazingly good i'd say. Maybe i felt too different too many times. Maybe too many people expected something different or even more from me. But i did and gave what i could. And, God, if you're there, i really feel confortable with that. I don't want to sound arrogant, or all knowing, but i really feel confortable and i regret nothing...at least nothing really important".
A really amazing feeling of peace took over him, and he felt a bit warm for a few seconds. He knew Agnes, wherever she might be, was proud of him. He always felt that, and he knew, in some strange way, that she still was.
His attention was then distracted from the quilt as he heard his daughter Rachel telling of Peter, his grandson, because of some mischief he most certainly had goten himself into. He smiled. "Yeah, i did alright. And so will they." Still smiling he looked to a photo of Agnes over the desk and kinda winked hi eye to the woman who was the love of his life for 30+ years. "It's ok, i'm ready, save me a seat there Agnes, my dear!"
And slowly, peacefully, with a smile in his old wrinkled face, faded away.
He had a rare gift Joe. He knew his place in the world. He found wonder in simple things. He lived in the moment like a child...Thats a rare gift in a man".
(in: "Flashbacks of a Fool" by Baillie Walsh)