A few years difference

Published 9:27 am Wednesday, June 3, 2009

At 16

He stuck his head under the pillow as the alarm dutifully came to life. “Five more minutes,” he thought, his left arm fumbling on the night stand for the snooze button. Thirty minutes later found Peter rolling out of the cocoon of covers.

The previous night a passing foggy escapade, his mind grasped the reality of another 24 hours before him as he struggled to determine the day of the week. He succumbed to the reality of being late for work. Again.

Fumbling in his dresser drawer, he reached into the mass of attire, grasping whatever pieces his fingers recognized as shirt, pants and socks.

Driving to work, he glanced in the mirror, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes while combing his hair with his fingers, contemplating how he would explain his tardiness this time. His mind wandered to Tanya and Becky and Diana. Especially Diana.

Stepping out of his car, he popped breath mints into his mouth and texted Phil and Mike, his best friends. “JD7.”

J.D.’s Pub was a favorite meeting place to hang out and see what the night would bring.

As Peter slipped into the side door at “Burger Bob’s,” he lamented the lack of order in his life.

Approaching his obviously irritated boss he realized he couldn’t use “the alarm didn’t go off.”

He had used that last time.

At 62

At exactly 6:15, the familiar “beep-beep,” “beep-beep” aroused Peter out of his sleep.

As he had positioned the alarm for ease of reach and always slept on his right side, knees slightly bent, Peter reached over and hit the “off” button. He then repositioned the alarm to its appointed place. Just as he had done the day before and the day before.

He slipped off the same mattress he had known for 10 years with just the right firmness, stepped into the bathroom, grabbed the same soft-bristle toothbrush and squeezed out the same amount of toothpaste so as not to waste.

The woman with whom he had slept for the past 30 years did not stir as he walked by to the dresser, pulling out drawers with their prearranged contents. Neat stacks of shirts, pants, etc.

His matching colors evident, he stepped into the kitchen for his last homebound ritual.

One cup of coffee in the green and blue mug, three-fourths full, one sugar, two creamer.

Driving to work with cruise set at 62, he thought of his evening routine. Five-thirty dinner, six o’clock news, three favorite shows and back to bed.

“Boy,” he thought, robotically turning into the same parking place. “I could use some variety in my life.”