Perfectly Perfect

December 24, 2007
By Sherine Mostafa, Naperville, IL

Dannon woke up at exactly 5:00. He yawned quietly and covered his mouth politely, even though he was the only one in the room. He swiftly swung his feet over the bed and carefully slipped them into his fuzzy, brown slippers. Ugh, these backaches you get when you’re 55, he thought. Using one hand, he picked up his glasses, while using the other to support his aching back. He shoved his thick black –rimmed glasses on to his perfectly round face. Dannon trudged groggily to the bathroom. He had the feeling that everyone gets in the morning; the one where you just want to stay in bed all day and fall into a deep sleep filled with adventurous dreams. But, he couldn’t stay in bed all day, no way! That would mess up his perfect schedule. Then, everything would be out of place.

Dannon got out of the shower feeling more energetic and awake. He got dressed carefully as to not get water all over the clean, white tiles of the bathroom floor. He brushed his teeth exactly the same way he did every single day. Up, down, up, down, up, down, believe it or not that’s what he was thinking as he brushed his pearly whites every day. He smiled at himself in the big, regal mirror. A middle-aged man with shiny white teeth stared back at him. He had soft brown tufts of hair on each side of his head. And right down the middle of his head, he was completely bald. He ran his hand across the top off his head then said,

“Alright, I don’t want to be off schedule, I’d better hurry up!”
His brown eyes glistened as he turned away from the mirror. He picked up his things and neatly tossed them in the hamper.

At 6:15 sharp, Dannon had finished breakfast and was out the door. He carefully lifted one leg and put it in the car, slowly sat on the seat, and put his other leg in. He was absolutely not going to ruin the leather in his car.
Dannon works hard at H&R Block everyday from 6:30 in the morning to 5:30 at night. He works as a tax accountant. It’s not an easy job, but it satisfies him well.

Later in the day, Dannon and his co-workers took some time off for a lunch break. He pulled out a turkey sandwich on wheat, an apple, and a water bottle. He didn’t talk much to his colleagues, but he overheard them chatting about a carnival in town.

“Hey Sam,” said Barney.

“Yeah?” Sam answered with an annoyed tone. He was in the middle of a delicious cupcake.

“Did you hear about the festival in town? I think it opened a couple days ago. I heard it’s supposed to be fun for the whole family.” exclaimed Barney.

“Oh yeah,” Sam said as cupcake crumbs flew out of his mouth. “My wife and the kids are going to take a trip down there and check it out,” he said enthusiastically.

Dannon spoke up, “Are you guys talking about the carnival that opened up right across town? Because I heard there’s a massive sock sale going on right next door.”

Barney and Sam stared at him blankly. After a long moment of silence he spoke again, this time with a more hushed tone.

“Ahem, well, I must be off gentlemen, I’ve got some work to catch up on. See you then Barney, Sam.” He stood up and dropped his trash in the garbage can. He walked away quickly. He could feel their eyes piercing the back of his head.

At around 5:25ish, Dannon looked up at the clock. He packed up his things and went through the same procedure do go into his car. I really do want to go to that sock sale, he thought, I’m in desperate need of some. He turned the steering wheel and headed toward the direction of the sale. Once he got there; around six o’clock, he whipped out his cell phone and dialed his mother’s number.

“Hello?” said the voice on the other line.

“Hello, Mother? It’s Dannon. I just called to say I won’t be home till eight o’clock. I just wanted to let you know,” he said, scared that she wouldn’t approve.

“Oh god Dannon, you don’t have to check with me anymore. You’re a grown man, go wherever you like. I swear, we need to get you a girl,” she said ending with a loud guffaw.

“Ha-ha,” he said in a monotone. “Very funny, I’ll see you at eight.”

“ Okay,” she sighed. “But I can’t believe you’re still living with me. I mean-.”
He cut her off, “Thanks, mother. Now I’ll be seeing you later,” he growled with his teeth clenched and hung up. He stormed away from his car and went to go search for socks.

“Oh wow, there are so many good deals here,” Dannon said, forgetting about his conversation with his mom. “I just have to finish up so I can get home at exactly eight o’clock. Oh, what should I chose?” he brought his hands up to the sides of his cheeks like a little girl that was excited about a new doll she got. He studied every pair of socks carefully.

After spending 30 minutes examining the socks he finally found one pair that suited him. He hugged them close to his chest as he walked towards the cashier. Yes, finally, new socks. He had been waiting for a long time to find good deals on socks. As he approached the cashier, he started talking to Dannon. The Cashier was an elderly man of about 60 or 65. His gray hair was thick and curly, which was very strange of man his age.

“Son,” the cashier said in a rough but quiet voice, “You have been here for half and hour and all you bought was one pair of socks?”

“Well, yes, of course, it takes time to pick out the right pair of socks.” Dannon replied with an “I-know-everything tone.”

The man stared at him for awhile, his head cocked to this side. But at last he let Dannon pay.

“Thank you,” said Dannon as he grabbed the socks and strolled to his car. But he soon picked up the pace in order to get home on time. He stopped abruptly. For the first time, he noticed the carnival that was happening right down the street. Loud music was blaring from huge speakers, and the sweet aroma of cotton candy filled the air around him.
Maybe I’ll go over there for a little bit. How can I pass by an opportunity such as this? But my schedule, I shouldn’t go I don’t have time for things like this. But it looks so fun...
He pondered over this for a while not knowing what to do. He finally decided to go home. Going to this silly carnival would be a waste of time anyways, he assured himself. But as he was about to put his first foot in the car, he noticed a sign in front of a tent inside the carnival. The words COME SEE MADAME TYRONIA, SHE CAN TELL YOU YOUR FUTURE! were written on it.

“ Wow! Maybe she can tell me if the rest of my life will be perfect. Maybe, she will say it will be perfectly perfect, just like it is now,” he said to himself.

He couldn’t resist. He had to go see her. He slowly got out of the car and slammed the door.

When he reached Madame Tyronia’s tent, he slowed down, his heart started pounding. Now he would find out how his future will come. He walked in holding his breath. He gasped when he saw the inside of the tent. The lights were dimmed, there were little paper stars strung across the ceiling like garland .There was three dimensional models of stars and planets all around the tent. There was a small wooden table in the middle of the tent covered with a purple cloth. A tiny crystal ball sat right on top. And behind the desk, a woman, dressed in a long dress wearing many shawls sat, staring at Dannon.

“ You come to see your future, I here to tell you.” She spoke in slightly broken English.

“Alright,” he said wearily, his legs shaking like jelly.

“Sit,” she commanded, pointing her finger at a small wooden chair in front of her desk.
He shot down like a rocket into the chair.

“What is your name?” she asked.

“Dannon Smith,” he said very quickly. She said nothing. She put her hands on the crystal ball and gazed into the mist inside. It was quiet for a moment.
“Aha!” she yelled. Dannon jumped in his seat. “ I see your future. It will not be perfect as you thought. Things will go wrong, things will change and then in the end maybe things will be perfectly perfect.” She eyed the socks he was holding for a few moments. Then, she looked away and said no more. What does this mean? he asked himself. Why was she looking at my socks like that? He sat there, horrified.

Back at home, Dannon, was still thinking about what Madame Tyronia had said. He sat at the kitchen table thinking. Thinking about how he had been late coming home, and about his future; how could this be? He watched his mother sit on the couch and watch television. She was not an ordinary 70 year old. She could watch T.V for hours and stuff her face with whole sticks of butter. She was lazy, but still, she was loving. Dannon sighed and dragged his feet all the way upstairs. Once he was in his room he took out the socks he had bought and folded the carefully. He placed them in the drawer with the rest of his socks. He got ready for bed, and as he pulled the covers under his chin he thought, today was totally off schedule.

The next day, Dannon woke up with a headache.
“Ugh!” he cried, “ Even though it’s Saturday it feels like its going to be a bad day.” He did not wake up gracefully as he usually did; why, he did not know. He moaned and rolled off the bad and fell on his back.

“Oh, my back.” he yelled. But, he stopped groaning, he had noticed something on the floor. “What’s this?” It was a sock. He frowned. How did it get there. He slowly got up and looked around. To his horror, there were socks all over the floor. All the socks that he owned were scattered all around.

“How did this happen?” He was shocked. Then he realized that he had to clean it up. How could he leave such a mess on the floor? But Cleaning up would throw him off schedule. But if I don’t clean it up it will haunt me until I do! He spent the next two hours cleaning up and pairing together all his socks. He put them away and shut the drawer tight.
“There,” he said. “Now I’m done.” He tried to go through the rest of the day following his schedule; it just wasn’t the same.

On Sunday, Dannon woke up to see the socks once again scattered all over the floor.

“But-I- yesterday- how did this- huh?” he stuttered. “ I don’t know why this is happening. I cleaned it all up and it just happened again. I am sick and tired of this. I don’t want to keep throwing away my perfect days just to clean it up. It’s not worth it. I’m not cleaning up!” With that, he stomped out of his room and downstairs.

Dannon went downstairs and had breakfast. He tried to plan the rest of the day but it just wasn’t working. So, after he finished eating he just sat there.

“Dannon dear, don’t you have some planning to do?” His mother asked from the family room not moving her eyes from the T.V screen. He sighed.

“No, mother, I don’t.”

“Then get over here and watch some good old T.V with your ma like normal people.” she yelled to him. He hesitated. He never really did watch T.V, but he agreed. He sat down on the couch next to his mother and started watching.

“ Wow,” he said. “Wow.” He just kept saying this in a dazed tone.

“I just knew you would like watching television,” his mom said. “It’s a fun way to relax!”

“You’re right mom. This is fun.” Dannon said enthusiastically. He really started getting into the shows. But when his mom offered him a stick of butter, he just glared at her. He never really did understand his mother.

That night when he went to bed, Dannon could have sworn that there were not as many socks on the floor than there were in the morning.

The next day, he decided to loosen up about being exact about everything. He even watched T.V again with his mom. And he let her take him out to dinner. And sure enough, the amount of socks had gone down.

On lucky Tuesday, Dannon went to work and was able to concentrate, then he came home and ate dinner and went out with his mom. They had a good time. Dannon had never done things like this before. And when he went to sleep that night, not a single sock was on the ground.

“You know mom,” Dannon said to his mom one night, “I think this fortune teller lady I talked to did something to those socks of mine. I can’t really explain it, but I’m really glad I talked to her, even if she was somewhat scary. I think my life has changed somehow. I think that everything is moving more smoothly. Everyone is starting to treat me like a normal person. Mom, I think now, my life is perfectly perfect.”

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