One Fine Morning Downtown
story by RD
It was morningstill dark, and my hand groped out to quiet the annoying distortion by the bed. The noise ended, and the hand clicked on the lamp. The CFL spiral glowed and began its gradual brightening. This was the only time of day I appreciated the gradual light from those imitation bulbs.
As I continued my morning routine, I became aware of something different. I felt as though I were watching myself; a spectator of my body. I saw myself in the mirror (you really should lose a few pounds) and observed myself at breakfast (did you really eat that much bacon?). It was only later, walking to the car with keys in hand, that I became aware of how different this morning was. My next door neighbor appeared to be getting into his car just ahead of me, and he seemed to not have any clothes on. Instinctively, I looked down at my legs, and I was suddenly aware that I was also completely exposed! I glanced around quickly, but was soon in the car and down the road.
Each car or truck that went by was inhabited by another body with no covering that I could see. As I arrived downtown I could see people walking, and no one was wearing anything. The car turned right, turned right again, and came to a stop in my regular parking space. My arms gathered in the same three items as always: laptop case, lunch, and water bottle. My quick glances in every direction found people of all different shades, sizes, and ages on their way to work. Some were deep in thought, others offering friendly smiles or handshakes to the naked bodies around them. A man I had seen a hundred times before had a huge scar down his chest. I arrived at my office, and the same security guard as always waved me in, but this time I saw his heavily tattooed chest and shoulders. In the elevator, an older lady from Accounting had only one breast, and a faint scar was all that remained of the other.
I saw myself settle down in front of the computer and begin dealing with the days workload. People walked by, as always, a parade of different skin colors and body shapes. Some wobbled with great bulges all over as they walked, others just a little jiggle or two, but most were somewhere between.
Lunchtime came, and by this time my attention had shifted to artwork. Many of the people around me had an assortment of color images in ever different locations. There was an occasional shiny ring or other ornament in unexpected places, and on one bearded gentleman a ring was incorporated into the image on his chest. By time to go home, my curiosity had waned to the point that I mostly saw facesfamiliar faces, but with renewed interest in the personalities they embodied. Oh, I still saw the pink or brown or black skin, but I also saw the smiles of recognition, thoughtful eyes, and terse expressions of frustration. My commute home was uneventful, but thoughtful. Turning out the light from my bed, I mused over the residual impressions of this quite odd, but somehow normal day. I had been so removed from my senses that I hadnt really felt much the whole day, but now I felt a calmness beyond just the easing of the workday tensions. Far beyond the sights of normally hidden views and newly-exhibited creativity, I felt that in a real sense I had spent the day in the presence of true beauty.