Monday, December 8, 2008

Day three hundred and forty one ... These floors.

My feet hurt when I walk first thing in the morning.

I've been told I have flat feet and would never be drafted. Thankfully, I have never had to put this diagnosis to the test. 

But they still hurt when I get out of bed. As I make my way from my mattress's edge to my slippers it's most noticeable. Then, slipping on the well-worn backless arches, it gets a bit better. 

As the blood starts to make its way all around my frame, and my muscles awake from their slumber--however restless or peaceful--things start to ease up, and by the time I make it downstairs I have all but forgotten the dull, unavoidable, localized pain I feel in my most southern extremities.

And then I wake up the floors.

For over a hundred years they have laid prostrate, awaiting the inevitable barrage of pressure from above.

They have a routine, as do I.

They sleep soundly, providing I have shut all the lights off. But then again, I'm sure they could sleep through an all night party of diffused incandescence. They have learned to put up with an awful lot over the years.

Jabs, pokes, scuffs, stomps, skids, spills, brooms, mops, pails, sprays, stumbles, falls, blood, sweat, hair, skin, tears, drool, dogs, cats, babies, doctors, priests, rabbis, revelers, strollers, crutches, walkers, wheelchairs, stretchers, and mourners.

I'm sure they have seen it all, these floors.

Forget about the stories the walls could tell. They are nearly deaf, dumb, and blind from the layers of paint, plaster, paper, and spackle that cover their surface.

The walls have seen a lot, but trauma and seclusion have rendered them practically incidental and oblivious to the world outside. 

The floors have knowledge. 

They have the patterns of an average life engrained in their fibers.

For we walk a certain way almost every time.

When's the last time you walked around the room hugging the baseboard with the side of each foot as you progressed?

Probably never.

And the floors know this.

And so, the wood near the walls stays fresh and virile while the middle of the room turns as weathered and worn as a carousel horse from wear and tear. And on top of that, this high traffic area gets swept clean and mopped most thorough every so many days, while the baseboard baby-floor attracts dust, bugs, and clutter.

It has seen as many years of existence, but its location protects it from attrition.

And the shadows make their walk in the usual way.

The sun, in varying strengths and from alternating distances, comes back every day to linger at its usual pace.

It has no need to hurry.

It pays no fee for admission.

It made these floors grow a lifetime ago.

And it still feels like it has a hand in their lives.

I forget how my feet hurt every morning as the first five minutes of my conscious day slip into the past.

I walk all day on the floors of a million buildings' boundaries--some made more of wood than others-- and I budge open their fibers a microscopic amount as I do.

They spring back upon my weight's departure.

And then their grimace flattens out at the edges.

The walls have no idea.

Meanwhile, I go on, happy that I have somewhere to go.

Then I go to bed.

And I forget that my feet are flat.

Until the floors remind me.

Thanks for reading.



guess said...

Fredzo...what about the ceilings. I often wonder about the ceilings that silently watch.

Great read yet again!!

F. Alex Johnson said...

Dear Keltic Grasshopper,

The ceilings have it tough a lot of the time. Depending on how diligent the occupant is/was they may have two or three coats of paint covering their surface like cataracts. Some are more anti-social than others. The ones in the bedroom are a bit more hardened to it all from the constant staring of the occupant and other activities which might affect its outlook on candor and/or public decency.

If you look closely at a demolished house you can see the societal carnage that has occurred, as the walls, ceilings, floors, and fixtures (not to mention the plumbing) try to live in in amidst the war-torn surroundings.

It mirrors our world without the glass or silver backing intact.

Glad you liked the story.

Thanks for your consistent and positive attention to my work.