Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: SLOTH (indolence; laziness) (01/29/15)
TITLE: The way of the idle
By Ken Grant
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"Let's go, Curtis. We are going to be late."
The necessity of time. Charlie recalled those times in his life when everything had been important. Moving from one necessity to another had been stressful, but it had also given him a sense of purpose. His life had once had meaning.
"What's wrong with him?" The boy asked his father as he pointed at Charlie.
The boy's father rushed over never keeping his eyes off of Charlie. Charlie had learned not to make any sudden moves around protective fathers.
"Leave him alone, son. He's nobody. He's just a bum. You don't want to end up like him."
"What happened to him?" The boy asked.
The father looked at Charlie. Charlie could see that the man actually was looking at him as more than just a problem to be solved.
"Don't move, Curtis," The man said as he approached Charlie.
"I'm Jeremiah Sanchez," The man said as he held out his hand.
"Charlie Thompson," Charlie replied taking the hand and giving it a firm shake.
"I assume this wasn't your goal in life when you were young."
"Not exactly," Charlie laughed slightly which seemed to break the mood. "I remember being as bright-eyed and hopeful as that little boy of yours." Charlie had noticed young Curtis slowly edging forward, but hadn't said a word.
Jeremiah noticed Curtis and gave him a playful pat, but allowed him to remain. He knew it would be good for Curtis to hear this conversation.
"That firm handshake tells me that you were a man of some means at one time in your life, Charlie."
Charlie looked away for a moment. A sense of profound shame washed over him. He hadn't been called out in such a long time.
"Life felt so overwhelming," Charlie stopped to allow the sadness to wash over him.
"I'm sorry, Charlie," Jeremiah said. "The last thing I wanted to do was to cause you pain. We can leave if you want."
"People have been leaving me for so long. At first I liked it. The idea of not having any ties. The idea of not having to do anything. Not having any responsibilities seems wonderful until you realize that means that nobody cares what you do. After a while you stop caring yourself. Once that happens it's just such a long road back."
"I hope you make it back, Charlie."
"I do to."
"Say good-bye, Curtis."
"Good-bye," The boy said as his father took his hand and they walked away.
There was something about the scene that resonated deep within Charlie. Idleness had become a way of life. It had promised freedom but what it had delivered was something very different. Charlie looked around at the world. There had to be something that mattered. He hoped one day he would have the courage to find out.
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