Looking up at the stars, Henry got the impression of being in a box. Like breathing holes in cardboard, the little pokes of light taunted him. Later that morning, when the sun covered up the sky, he would be at a meeting of his entire company. At some point, he would be asked to present the progress of his project: a review of competitors and their presence in the marketplace compared to the company for which he worked.
More than the presentation he had to give, Henry dreaded the party that would come after. A forced affair in which those at the top would goad those under them to drink. Those in the middle, feeling the tension of normal workplace decor become loosened, would oblige. Those who left were usually not at the company the next month.
Thinking about these things, he wondered what his thoughts about the stars being breathing holes had to do with anything at his job. Perhaps he felt trapped, but that seemed obvious, something that his star analogy didn’t need to explain. Perhaps he was wondering if he had reached his peak. The highest level of success in the workplace of which he was capable, and from that level you could see the light poking through the holes in the whole thing.
Henry snuffed out his cigarette in the little square patch of dirt in his backyard and went inside. He patted his cat on the head and got ready for the day, laying out his suit and tie before showering.
Henry groaned as he got out of bed. His back popping and snapping as he stretched. It was still dark out. He grabbed a cigarette from the night stand and went to his back patio. The dew from the grass and the absence of sun sent a cold shiver through his body.
Ever since retiring, Henry had woken up before dawn with no alarm. As a young man he’d imagined all of the creative projects on which he would have time to work. Lighting his cigarette, he thought about all the energy of youth he had spent on getting to this point and now, with all the time in the world, he found his energy depleted.
Looking up at the stars, Henry got the impression of being in a box. Like breathing holes in cardboard, the little pokes of light taunted him.