My Own Reflections

Know thyself - Editor

by Andrew Black

Edward Hoffman looked down at the muddy, swirling water fifteen odd feet below him and pondered what it would be like to topple over the cast iron railing atop the reservoir into those murky depths. He kicked a pebble off the ledge, watching the little stone tumble in a lazy arc until it plopped into the placid surface below. Circular ripples echoed outward and were quickly absorbed back into the silt-laden water. Would a body make ripples that lasted longer? He wondered if maybe all of life was like those quickly vanishing circles, where a man was no more than a pebble dropped in the great pond of life at birth, their ripples spreading outward while they slowly sank beneath the surface until at last even the small wake of their passing vanished.

He often came to the Ross Lake reservoir wall to ponder such thoughts. The wall couldn’t really be classified as a dam, though it served the same basic purpose. It separated the bulk of the large lake from a smaller retaining pond whose underground spring was once source for the larger body of water. Ohio Route 65 traversed the reservoir wall, a lonely two lane county highway that formed the northern border of the lake and its heavily forested banks. Edward worked a few miles down that road at KLH Manufacturing, a tractor and farm equipment factory that employed a number of people from nearby Parisville. He was a paper pusher, a regional sales manager who did little more than sit in meetings all day and pump out a few worthless memos a week. He would come to the lake three or four times a week on his lunch breaks and gaze down at the gently lapping water while thinking about the world and his place in it.

Edward hated his life. He was in his mid-thirties, a pudgy man with a receding hairline. His face was egg-shaped with a wide jaw and neck and high, almost pointed scalp with a ring of close cropped brown hair. His eyes were deep set, small and dull brown and his bushy eyebrows had a habit of growing together if he forgot to shave between. He rarely did anything approaching exercise, though this was partially the fault of a congenital heart defect that caused his pulse to race uncontrollably if he exerted himself too much. His ears were overly large, but fortunately laid flat against his skull, which also seemed a bit too big for his body. There was very little attractive about the man, and his personality was as flat and lifeless as his looks.

He’d dated a few women, had sex twice in his life thanks to the wonders of cheap beer and the low standards of the middle-aged women who hung out at the White Buffalo honky tonk just outside of town, but had never had anything resembling a true relationship. He had tried dating sites on the internet but his rural community had little to offer and the women from the larger cities saw nothing of interest in Edward. He spent most nights alone in his apartment, watching TV or pulling his pud to online porn. He had no social life to speak of, no friends to visit or hang out with, and no real hobbies to share with anyone.

Although Edward had little in the way of social skills, he wasn’t entirely odious to those around him. Most people thought of him as shy and polite, if they thought about him at all. Generally no one paid much attention to him. He was simply a blank, a name and face with no substance to any of the people with whom he regularly interacted. This suited Edward, though. He didn’t really want to make deep friendships with anyone because he didn’t think any of them could possibly understand him, despite the fact that there was little in his life for anyone to comprehend. Other than a collection of restaurant coasters, some of which came from as far away as New York City, there wasn’t too much to know about Edward’s private life.

Edward had considered ending his life a number of times. His plans never got very far, for as well as being a social reject he was also a tremendous coward. The idea that there might be some discomfort in killing himself tended to ruin any suicidal thoughts he entertained. He also was highly agnostic, his faith having been broken in his youth after many rounds of teasing in Sunday school, and he wasn’t sure there was any sort of afterlife waiting for him. Instead of acting out his self-destructive instincts, he would simply imagine the act in his mind over and over until finally his depression lessened. This usually coincided with a purchase of alcohol or the discovery of a new online porn site catering to whatever fetish caught his attention at the time. It was a horrible cycle, depression leading to more depression until something distracted him from his problems, and the older he got the more difficult it became to pull out of such a spiral.

Sometimes he would come to the reservoir wall after work and stare down at the water and ask himself why he kept going. He had no family to speak of; his parents were killed in a car accident when he was in his early twenties and all he had left was an uncle who lived two states over. He had no friends, not one person who would genuinely miss him if he were gone. He had thought of buying a pet once, but his landlord wouldn’t allow it. He felt like cardboard, like he didn’t really exist at all.

About me

This is me: home-writer, book-reader, dog-lover and occasional poet. I make this website to share my and my friends texts with You, dear Reader. Please: read carefully, don't be scary, upgrade your mood and be king and leave your comment. :)