Two months passed. The date had been a failure, which allowed Jake’s shed cleaning project to continue along nicely. He figured he would need only two more weekends before all the clutter in his shed (and house) would be either gone completely or stored neatly. He had heard a saying once that “clutter is just postponed decisions.”
He had a lot of decisions to make still.
Saturday was ‘sorting through photos’ day. Gobs of them. From infancy to just the past month.
Once the photos were done, it would mostly be going through clothes, dishes and an assortment of items too big to box. Those would go quickly. He had inventoried them in his mind several times already. He just had to focus on his methods and never waiver.
But after just a couple of hours of just sorting the photos, he started developing a headache again. This one was a lot worse. Even after taking some pain medicine, the pain hadn’t subsided much. Against his better judgement, he decided to focus on the clothes and dishes and leave the photos.
By Sunday afternoon, all that was left was the photos.
The headaches had been getting worse. With only the photos left, and everything packed away, he was surprised at how much this one was killing him. He was so close to complete organization he couldn’t stop. Eight years of sorting through all the things he’d collected over the years were almost at an end.
He sat there, in the middle of his living room staring around the room and rubbing his temples. He was surrounded by photos in stacks sorted by time period, subject matter and photographer. All the photos and albums from his childhood, college, the wedding and up to a year before the divorce were in order and just needed to be boxed.
He stared at the photos of his ex-wife, thinking back to the time when things had gotten so bad in his marriage that he had thought of just ending it all by just driving head on into a bridge support on the way back from work one night.
Of course he was too scared of the physical pain that would result and instead spent the next three years in emotional pain. “Yeah, that was a much better decision,”?Jake shook his head which just increased the pain and made him dizzy.
But when it came to the divorce, he knew deep down that he had made the right decision. There were so many things he had done and experienced since then that he couldn’t imagine what it would have been like to miss them all. He started to think about a trip he and Kenny took when a sharp pain pierced his head and sent sparks across his eyes. He reeled for a moment and after a few minutes the pain subsided.
“Whoa. That sucked,” he rubbed his temples as his vision cleared.
The dog stared at him from her comfy spot on the couch overlooking the mass collection of memories and sighed. “Well, might as well finish this up, right Shaggy?”
Jake reached for the first stack and had a searing flash of pain coupled with a bright white light that filled his vision. These weren’t mere sparks. And the flash of pain was like that from a dagger.
After a few minutes the lights and pain subsided, and he found himself lying flat on his back staring at the ceiling. Some of the photo stacks had been knocked over and scattered around.
“Okay, that really sucked, Shaggy.”?He glanced over, but Shaggy had left. He called her name, but she didn’t come. Jake wondered how long he had been lying on the floor and tried to check his cell phone, but it was completely dead.
“Swell,”?he thought, “Okay, only eight more stacks, and I’m done.”
Jake reached for the first stack that he had knocked over. As he flipped them over, he gasped when he saw they were blank. All of them. Just as he was trying to comprehend why the photos were now all blank, a wall of pain hit him full force making him reel with nausea and his heart start to race.
“What the hell?” he cried, his eyes winced in pain.
He was just recovering and was, stubbornly, reaching for another stack of photos as pain, light, and, now, a blaring static sound began washed over his sense. As the light dimmed, he saw that this next pile, too, held blank photos.
His body started to tingle, and his legs began to ache as the light and noise made focusing on the room around him more difficult. He scattered the remaining photos only to find every single one was blank.
Then he started coughing as if something was caught in his throat. He couldn’t breathe through his nose either. He felt nauseous. Was he dying?
Jake started for the house phone, but his legs didn’t carry him. He fell to the floor, writhing in agony.
The lights were everywhere, and the sounds were just as piercing as the light. They started to sound like voices and machines. Metal clanking. Wheels rolling.
What is happening to me?’ Jake thought as he, thankfully, lost consciousness.
To be continued….