Existential Terror and Breakfast: 3

Epiphanies taste better with toast.

It was a Wednesday morning and Malcolm thought his oatmeal looked bleak. He quickly corrected himself in his mind because he had actually meant “bland”. His oatmeal looked bland. It bothered him that bleak still made more sense in his head. That was actually what he meant. There was no reason to correct himself. His oatmeal was bleak. Incredibly bleak. He realized now that bleak was the right word because it was bland, but more importantly, because it was a symptom for something else.

It could not be overstated that it was a Wednesday morning. This was important to his current crisis because of the very nature of Wednesday mornings. Malcolm had just realized that he could easily transplant any Wednesday morning in his past with any other and that it would make no difference. All of them were a blur of blandness, routine, and most importantly, impotent acceptance that it was always the same. Sure, he could make promises, and certainly had made promises, to do  something exciting or change a habit, but ultimately it would not materialize. The Wednesdays that he wasn’t working, or fulfilling his dreary mid-week routines were anomalies. If he had committed to going skydiving next week wouldn’t the next hundred Wednesdays be filled with the same mundane things they had always had? Even if he had committed to always do something exciting on a Wednesday for the rest of his life, wouldn’t these monochrome actions simply migrate themselves to another day of the week? Wednesday mornings were a truer representation of his life than the exciting things he had done and bragged to his coworkers about. The oatmeal was bleak because it was symbolic to his very nature. Malcolm Steadman was a dry, flaky, and bland individual. Just like his oatmeal.

He wondered why it had gotten so bad. There was no warning ahead of time, his life had just gradually stayed the same. There was no one to tell him that routine and habit would pile up to eat away at his time and leave a collage of memories that were indistinct from each other. Was there something numbing about this, was nobody able to yell danger because it came with an impotent acceptance?

His oatmeal was overcooked.

Malcolm took a moment to desperately remedy the situation, knowing ahead of time that it would be in vain. He rummaged through his cabinet, trying not to think about how long his spices had sat there. After manically pushing things aside he found his target: Hot Sauce. In one movement he had jumped from his cabinet and was already drowning his oatmeal in a viscus red liquid. He knew that this would be one of those Wednesdays that would be lost and relentlessly buried in a mountain of cloned Wednesdays, but he could not bare the thought of letting this one be the same. After shoveling his spoon into his breakfast…no…his statement, Malcolm brought the food to his mouth and immediately regretted doing so. The regret was not from the searing meat that was now his tongue, but because it was really just a token victory. He realized now that it was not the sea of bland Wednesdays behind him that bothered him; it was the grand ocean ahead of him that he would have to endure.

The mundanities of life had to be opiates. They were numbing so that they would go unnoticed. The real villain here was time. Life, in its moment to moment beats, is unbearable. It is as boring as it is long, and it is very long. Now that Malcolm was fully aware of the nature of Wednesdays he was immune to opiatic effects meant to shield him from the terrible existential horribleness to come. He would now notice, and have to push through, every bleak Wednesday that he would have to experience in real-time.

Malcolm did not eat the rest of his oatmeal because it was too spicy. He did not eat it because it was far too bleak.

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Rev. Fitz
Michael Fitzgerald (Rev. Fitz) is a writer, illustrator, and amateur Electrical Engineer who lives in Seattle.

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