The Most Beautiful Day

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic
Laurence Pendleton wakes up to what becomes his most important, and most beautiful, day.

Submitted: December 16, 2011

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Submitted: December 16, 2011

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The Most Beautiful Day

By

Dan Darri

 

 

 

6:00 am

 

The alarm to wake up goes off.  I slowly open my eyes and roll over.  Today, I’m not in a hurry for my time isn’t until 7 o’clock tonight.  The sun is just breaking over the mountains that stretch across the horizon and I have nothing pressing me to move.

 

Broken stone caught frozen in an endless cascade of solitude and ice casts a blistering gleam across the plains stretching from those far off monoliths to my window.  An eagle cries in the distance, its sleep disturbed by the onslaught of sudden brightness.

 

I have been here for the last 10 years and, by far, this is the most beautiful place that I have lived to this day. A despondent sigh escapes from my lips. Bitterness fills my chest as I consider the fact that this is the last sunrise I will see from this window.

 

Tonight, I must go to the stage and give my final performance.  After that, I will no longer live here. I will have to move on, to become free and start a new life. The thought of a new life brings both a smile and feeling of dread to me.  Always have I looked to the future to provide me with something more than the past has provided, but I’m still possessed of this fear. What will await me there?

 

Soon I will know, for now there is no turning back.  The stage is set, the invitations sent and the papers alerted.  I have no choice but to arrive and end this chapter of my life so that I can begin anew with the next.  Finally, a bit of peace crosses my brow as the sun makes its way into my window to glitter across my face and the wall next to my pillow.

 

With a final stretch, I rise and begin my day.  Today is important, so therefore every detail must be attended to with the utmost precision.  There is no reason for me to break my routine simply because I must give my final performance tonight.  A strong routine lends to a calming of the soul and helps to elevate one above the daily stresses.

 

Today of all days, I need my routine. I look out the window one final time as I rise from my bed.

 

My God, this has to be the most beautiful day.

 

7:30 am

 

Oh, what a wonderful breakfast was had today!  Charley came as promised and had the most amazing Eggs Benedict I’ve experienced in my time.  The hollandaise was superb, the cream just melting into my tongue as the soft texture of the egg blended with the sour taste of the muffin and the smooth saltiness of the ham.  To finish it, there was freshly squeezed orange juice and a raspberry Danish to end the meal.

 

I stop for a second and consider what my life would have been like without Charley and what will his be without me?  He has been with me for the last ten years. In that time, the two of us have spoken of all things, family and dreams, as well as regrets and fears.  Although, there are many that I meet each day who are not worth the time it takes to speak with them, Charley treats everyone with respect and dignity.  A strong and fair man, he offers to you exactly what you offer back.

 

Pushing back the plate, I wipe my mouth and again stare out window to marvel at the bright cerulean ceiling that stretched to everywhere and nowhere.  Streams of smoky pillows surge eastward on jets of warmth sent by the pristine sands below.

 

Standing, I look at Charley and we both leave to begin our daily walk.  I exit into the bright day and stand just outside the door.  Charley stops to look at me, but I continue my delay.  Closing my eyes, I inhale deeply, tasting the life upon the odors that permeate the nomadic zephyr that passes through me.

 

The warmth of the sun, now fully crested over the far distant peaks, casts down upon me a new impression of glory.  Of beauty.  Of myself.  How can I leave this? Leave everything that has made me fill with hope each day through its breathtaking mysticism.

 

Charley is becoming impatient, so with a final inhalation, I begin my daily walk.  I cannot break routine. Routine is strength and strength is important today.

 

My God! What a beautiful day.

 

3:00 pm

 

I must begin to prepare for tonight.  Everything must be just perfect, nothing can be incorrect.  I first begin by showering.  The hot water cascades across my face, scalding my scalp and chest to enlighten each nerve with a newfound awareness of the pleasures and pains of the flesh.

 

Now I shave.  My handle trembles only slightly as I slide the razor first across my face, then across my scalp.  I massage lotion onto my skin to soften the burn of the blades.  The sun glints from over my shoulder and reflects an orange hue across my chest.

 

Closing my eyes and slowly exhaling to help calm myself, I begin to trim both my toe and finger nails.  After ensuring proper length, I take the extra time to file down the ends to perfect smoothness and uniformity. Everything must be perfect.

 

5:00 pm

 

Charley is prompt with dinner. A glorious bounty of food, I begin first with the greenest spinach salad I have ever tasted.  It was topped with a fine covering of fresh Parmesan cheese and light vinaigrette finished with fresh strawberries.

 

Next was the roast duckling, a personal favorite of mine. I paused to consider if I had ever savored a duck so tender and succulent.  The juices seemed to jump across my palate, invigorating each taste bud with the promise of the most heavenly of desires.

 

Steamed squash and zucchini assisted the duckling to counter the richness with a fresh and crisp bite that reminded me of fallen leaves, horses, my Uncle Sam and riding in the back of his cart filled with hay. These pleasant thoughts keep my mind as the colors of the setting sun hold my soul.

 

Again, my heart drops a bit as reality forces me to understand that this is the last sunset I will ever view from this window.  My performance nears. The new stage of my life looms nearer, closing on me from all sides like a speeding engine with a lunatic engineer at the helm.

 

6:30 pm

 

It is time.  I must go, for the crowd has begun to gather. They fill the seats with anxious anticipation of the act to come.  A sudden and undeniable despair crosses over me and I fall to one knee.

I’m not ready, no, not yet.  I cannot go out there like this. I am unprepared, unrehearsed. How can I go there in front of those who wish to see this performance? How can I stare into the eyes of those in the crowd, knowing that it is the final time I shall ever view them? Shall I stare into their souls and scream my anguish? Tell them that there is nothing to see, no one to witness, nothing to compare.

 

I have lost all and now they will see my anguish, my contempt, my final presentation. Charley puts his hand upon my shoulder, calming me. He reminds me that this must be done, that the people in the crowd have now arrived. They cannot be turned away now. There is no more delay. There is no more tomorrow. It is now. It has to be that way. There cannot be another time.

 

I must face my audience.

 

Taking strength in Charley’s grip, I again stand.  Squaring my shoulders, I face the door, confident again in my path, assured in my understanding. I smile at Charley and gently grip his hand.  A silent moment passes; neither of us recognizing it nor expanding it beyond that minute in space.

 

Looking forward, I think that today has been one of the best days that I have had here. Nothing has compared to the time and enjoyment that I had found in my day of solitude; my time inside to contemplate my night, my departure.

 

Striding down the hall, I no longer wish to turn back. My soul and heart now know that it is time to become one, to give my greatest act, to give everything that is mine to give to please those who sit engrossed with the display.

 

I know that once this is over, this emptying of my soul and my energy, it will also be the end of what has been the most beautiful day.

 

7:00 pm - Showtime

 

Charley walks me to my seat and I sit down, facing the closed curtain. Unlike normal, Charley is not alone tonight. He is joined by Mike and Alex, as well as a woman I do not know. I look up into Charley’s eyes as he looks into mine.  He gives me a grim smile and steps to the side. I turn my head away from Charley, to Mike, to see Alex pulling back the curtain. 

 

It was time!

 

My eyes look out into the crowd, hoping to see a familiar face, dreading the thought of any acquaintance’s presence. The lights are bright in my face, the crowd hard to distinguish from the shadows. Adjusting to the lights, I again begin to scan the room.

 

My eyes lock with the woman whom I have not met. She stares into my eyes, her power locking my attention and drawing me fully into her awareness. With a look to the clock on the wall behind me, she begins to speak.

 

“Laurence John Pendleton, you have been sentenced to die by electrocution by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Do you have any final words?”

 

What? Is she speaking to me? God! NO!  WAIT! Calm down; don’t let them see you break down. The press will ruin your image. With a deep breath, I lock eyes with my executioner. Raising my head and facing the crowd, I begin to deliver my final recital.

 

“I do, ma’am, I do. I want to tell you and everyone here, that today, well, today was the most beautiful day and you shouldn’t be quick to forget that. Days like this don’t but come once in a life.”

Turning my eyes down, my shoulders deflate. I am done. I have nothing else to give to them. It is now that they will have their way.

 

Casting a glance to the guards behind me, Mike begins to close the metal bands around my hands and ankles while Alex covers my face with a hood and places a wet sponge upon my head.  Soon I have the electrocution hat strapped to my head and I am alone.

 

I sit there, blind to everything yet every sense flaring.  My breath comes in quick gasps, my pulse races.  No, wait, there has to be some misunderstanding.  You can’t do this to me. I start to scream this to my tormentors, hoping that some small glint of sanity remained within them but I am gagged and cannot do more than emit muffled gasps.

 

When are they going to do it?

 

What are they waiting for?

 

I’M SO SORRY!SO SORRY!IDIDN’TMEANTHISTOHAPPEN!PLEASE FOR…

 

 

 


© Copyright 2017 Dan Darri. All rights reserved.

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