The afternoon walk home I carried my caned umbrella like a useless walking stick. The sky had threatened to break all day and it never did. My heart felt like a net, catching at anything, which wasn’t much– just leaves, some pollen that was still confused about the seasons, and a pheasant that took flight as it saw me coming. The day had grown warm and the clouds lay over the valley like a cumulonimbus oven. My jacket made me uncomfortably warm as I walked, but if I took it off I’d have to carry it the rest of the ten blocks home. Discomfort prevailed. I cinched up the ropes of my net and cast my thoughts to how much of our lives are spent being uncomfortable; the rock in my boot nodded against my heel in agreement.
One block and my heart threatened to break like the sky that wouldn’t. My phone felt heavy and metallic in my pocket, like a dream, and I forced myself not to listen to that voicemail again. The voicemail was a ghost that had been haunting me since it rang into my life at 9:45pm last night. At first it had startled me. Then anger for the poltergeist of technology stirred. If there are floors in dreams, I paced them. It there are walls in dreams, I beat my head against them. Walking home I felt as impotent as my umbrella. The ghost sat quietly in my pocket, waiting to be deleted or listened to again. It was patient; it could afford discomfort.