By the age of fifty-nine he had made for himself a certain daily routine that he believed he would be able to continue indefinitely, or at least until the tireless work of senescence carried him away. His mornings were simply, devoted entirely to the appreciation of coffee thick with sugar and condensed milk, and while he sipped he would listen to the music of Brahms. During this time he would compose Acts and Scenes from plays he had always wanted to, but knew that he never would, write, and this composition would take place entirely in his mind. With each swallow of coffee he would internally recite a line that he had been turning around for days, weeks, or months, and over the years he had developed a suite of works which he blushingly thought of as his oeuvre. At lunch time, instead of eating and exhausted from mental composition, he read, fifty pages of something, it didn’t matter what, though whatever it was had to be of the simply highest quality, and then in the afternoon he left his home and walked the city, until finally when evening fell he would locate a restaurant and eat a simple meal, usually of fish and vegetables, rarely of red meat, and only very occasionally would he eat chicken or pork, two forms of flesh he generally found abhorrent.
His life was simple, it was entirely planned out and this gave him a great deal of pleasure, and it bespoke of zero ambition whatsoever. His greatest feeling of success came from making through the day exactly as above and exactly as the day before, and the day before that, and the day before that. He was almost always in bed by nine, ready to do it all again.
The arrival of his daughter changed all of that. She came to him one night, shivering and sickly in the doorstep. Her face was streaked with tears and grime, and her skin bore marks both old and new. He knew she was high, so he let her in only to use the downstairs bathroom and guestroom, which had outward facing locks installed purely to handle Ellen’s visits.
This is not the first time, and it will not be the last. All things come to an end but not, it appears, his daughter’s dependency on him when times become too tough for her to handle, or his own cowardly blindness to what is occurring in her life. He will patch her up, feed her, and send her on her way with a little money to see her through. But no more.
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The above piece of writing comprises part of my fragments project, some of which are available on this website. I intend to add new fragments piecemeal, not in any particular order, and as the occasion take me.