The Man by the Window

In an easy chair by the window on Mars, the man sits and writes, contemplating the various choices that brought him to this moment, this chair, this home, this planet.

The air is warm and dry, the scents not of this world, desolation outside the window, and not a sound except the scritching of an ancient ballpoint pen on paper.

He is old, but not so old that he forgets the taunts of childhood friends who were not as close friends as he imagined.

“You’re still reading that kid stuff?”

“Well … yeah,” he said. “Superheroes fighting cosmic threats, dinosaurs roaming the land, adventures in outer space, people overcoming the wilderness and mean bad guys to live happily ever after? What’s not to love?”

“Oh, grow up. Nobody our age is into that stuff. Give it to your baby sister.”

And so he left childish things behind and went off to seek more mature themes, with no heroes, no dinosaurs, no spaceships, and no frontier, only the stuff of adulthood or at least older kidhood.

It wasn’t long before he realized something was missing, life was stifling and boring and unexciting and just plain not what it ought to be. And he knew what the problem was.

So he went back to the childish things and found his heroes waiting for him, and dinosaurs stalking the city, and space travelers exploring beautiful exotic planets, and bad guys menacing people and begging to be foiled.

And then he began to write his own stories and his words sparked magic in dozens of minds, then hundreds, then thousands, and now millions and millions. After nine decades, his old body wore out and he left this world behind.

And here he sits by the window on Mars, as bedazzled as ever by the scenery, waiting for company to join him on a journey to far metaphor.

[Saturday, Aug. 22, is the 100th anniversary of Ray Bradbury’s birth.]

Photo © Caroline17 | Dreamstime.com

Published by WarrenBluhm

Wordsmith and podcaster, Warren is a reporter, editor and storyteller who lives near the shores of Green Bay with his wife, two golden retrievers, and an insistent cat. Author of How to Play a Blue Guitar, A Bridge at Crossroads, Refuse to be Afraid, and A Scream of Consciousness.

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