His Motivation

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1825


“To Englishmen, life is a topic, not an activity.” -William Henry Harrison

His steps are confident as the tall man strides through the ornate hallways, always a glistening flower vase in sight. Creme curtains swop at every sparkling window. Dark tile floors are covered with decorative rugs that cushion his brown shoe’s quiet thump. In passing rooms, expensive furniture lays untouched, but never uncleaned; the walls a classy, but bold red or blue. The whole house screams for a change. The ceiling’s a white, just like the facade of this edifice, new and pristine. It’s perfect, but he can’t stop thinking that maybe all the walls are cracking on the inside.

He swiftly makes his way to the back room where he’ll be discussing problems that might occur in the 1826 election. The tapping foot steps are the only noise breaking the lofty silence until an undefined swoosh swiftly caresses the air. It was barely able to tickle one’s eardrum, but still sent a shuddering surprise down his spine. A conclusion quickly smacked the man’s head. Must be a cat. He continued his walk until it slid beneath the silent air again. Swoosh. He came to a halt and backed up cautiously to the room he had just passed. The President doesn’t keep any pets. He dug deep in his head for a reason and relaxed when he found one. It must be a stray. If not filthy, why not do Mr. Quincy Adams a favor and take the badgering pest outside? He slowly entered the chosen room, taking note of the dead brown walls, the color of his britches, overcoat, and shabby beard. A few bookshelves lined the den, creating a border of secrets. He tilted his head sideways to get a glance under the deep red couch poised in the middle of the room. Like a mouse skittering away in the shadows, he heard it as it quickly swam through the room. Swoosh. Not a cat. His eyes darted to the golden rimmed mirror in hope of seeing something behind him, but it was only a man in his forties, long and plump nosed and dull faced, a few wrinkles outlining his narrow head. Face crinkling, he tentatively turned around to see something move out of the corner of his eye. A sick game this was, like playing hide-and-seek with a magician, nothing but bosh. A shiver raced down every part of his body, leaving behind unwanted company; fear. Horror, concern and distress had replaced the red couch, an empty spot taunting and mocking his trembling eyes. He heaved his arm up to his head so his hand could feel for his existence. He stared uneasily into the mirror, as though to check for his sanity. His face became sluggish, morphing into a pool of unknown identity. His obscure reflection languidly fell into a blob down the wall. The content of the mirror flattened on the unspotted floor, bubbling with new colors that matched the deep interior of the room. It had a life of its own. His brown eyes hooked on the ground, unable to release. He could barely squeak a gasp as he gawked, dismayed at the newfangled rug that had replaced the mirror.

His meaty hand scrambled inside his coat pocket, searching and clawing for something, anything, that might lay inside it. His numb fingers grasped the cold, thin, metal reading glasses. Shaking, he gently tossed them onto the rug; his last chance to prove himself levelheaded. He wanted more then anything for the glasses to soundly land on the carpet; perfect. He wanted to disappear from here and be a child again, embraced in his mother’s white-gloved arms. He wanted the impossible. They landed, like anything would, and he drew in a deep breath. Swoosh. Before he could release, his glasses flew away like clear smoke, leaving nothing but an empty spot and broken hopes behind.

With that, he ran out of the room and down the elegant hallways, heart thumping, blood racing. He could just make out a cry that came from deep down at the end of the hallway; the room he’d been meaning to sojourn. “William! William Harrison!” John Tyler’s voice was aloof, distant and far back in the abaft of William’s head. Nor his reputation, or the concern in John’s voice could stop him. He was a misplaced puzzle piece in here, running, so the only thing he could do was break free and begone of this picture.

As a cool wind blew across his face, he took a deep breath of the fresh air surrounding him. He was ever so thankful for the commotion: the carriage riding past, the young ladies giggling as they entered brick stores on his left. Voices are the best medicine for easing worries. It was while he stared down at the cobblestone streets that he realized; just because a puzzle piece doesn’t fit in one spot, doesn’t mean it doesn’t belong in the puzzle. The harder you work to find the right place, the faster you will be able to solve the enigma and see the picture that reveals all the secrets. His job now is simple; become the President.





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