The Man

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The man walks slowly but with purpose into the large white room. Square shaped and filled to the brim with men of all character and size, the room is dissected by long wooden benches at one end. The benches are marked and stained, well worn and used by generations far before.
The man takes a moment to look around at the assembled group. Relaxed, he reaches out an arm to take hold of a chair. Brown, faded, simple. He sits on the chair backwards and listens to a loud conversation between the men. He watches the card games being played intensely, and takes note of the calm stares the men direct at one another.
The man looks up to the ceiling, and sees how the tiles that cover the surface were once white, but are now grey. He sees how there are missing pieces to the jigsaw puzzle that the ceiling is, and how there are tiny spider fractures on most of the dirty ceramics.
The man stares out the large open windows at one end of the room, and watches as the glowing ball of fire that is the sun burns a pathway through the colourful evening sky and into the black abyss of water beneath. He peers out of the windows, trying to notice all of the shades in the sky: pink, orange, red, yellow. The man thinks about how description cannot do the scene before his eyes justice.
The man hears a slow humming in the distance and sits ramrod straight, attentive. All around him, others are pausing their games as they hear the noise too. Like a flower unfurling its petals for the first time, men stand up slowly, unsure of where to look and what to do. Gradually, all eyes turn to the man in the middle of the room. Still sitting uncomfortably, his ears straining to hear the distant noise, he moves his head minimally. Those not paying the utmost of attention missed the imperceptible motion, and are swept up in the immediate organised chaos with confusion.
The man waits until the room is empty of his peers, then stalks to the windows. With an unobstructed view over the white sand beach and into the sunset, he looks past the clouds with an intensity seen only in the most experienced of men. He swears under his breath as small dots appear on the horizon, and stays for a moment longer before turning on his heel and storming out of the large white room.
The man pushes his way through the crowded corridors, not taking notice when people call his name with urgency. The white hallways seem perpetual, never-ending. As the man is walking, he sees rooms filled with expensive and extensive equipment; he sees rooms with nothing in them at all. He sees people seated at complicated looking contraptions, leaning over the controls with concentration and studiousness. There is a sense of danger, of pressure, of expectancy. Everyone knows what is going to happen. The man knows what is going to happen. As he walks the corridors, the man does not notice anything he is seeing. It is almost as if he is blind to everything not directly in his path.
The man eventually reaches the end of the eternal hallway and looks around in front of him. Men are rushing about here and there with purpose. The man coughs quietly, and one by one the men stop what they are doing and turn around to stare at him. The man thinks that their eyes are sharp, fierce, hungry. Penetrating. The man knows that all of the men are expecting him to say something profound. He barks his orders and moves on.
The man moves to the outer edges of the room, and hears the engines approaching rapidly. Soon enough they will be closer than he will ever want them to be. He knows how dangerous it is. Still he moves on, stomping his way across the packed area. Once the man is outside, he looks up, and sees for the first time what the engines actually are. They are death.
The man walks slowly but with purpose back into the large area. Filled to the brim with men of all character and size, the room is split up alphabetically. The floor is oil-stained and filthy, an obvious mark of what was there previously.
The man pauses mid-stride and looks around the area. He stares into every corner, every nook, every cranny. He watches how the men are interacting now. With profession, he notes that the conversation between the men is limited to grunts and one-word sentences. They are only speaking as much as they need to.
The man looks upwards, towards the industrial grey metal roof that provides protection for the area, and studies the bumps and indentations that mark the large cover.
The man stares out the end of the area, and sees the sun. A fireball, it has sunk almost completely below the surface of the ocean. A small semi-circular shape remains above the darkness. It lights up the area around it, hazy and warm.
The man has no choice but to hope, to hope for the best. If he does not hope, he knows that all he can feel is worry. The man keeps on looking out at the setting sun. Bright, hopeful, disappearing.





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