Aspirations

July 3, 2011
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A lonely figure sat in a dark office alone, one hand was busy crunching numbers into a calculator while the other hand scribbled notes onto a paper. His window overlooked the windy Chicago skyline, his office firmly stood in the middle of the business district. Wireframe glasses sat on the bridge of his nose, eager to fall, but still somehow reluctant to do so. He had red suspenders wrapped around his slumped shoulders and white shirt, and the cuff of his pants exposed orange socks in black shoes.

A knock came at the door and a young man peeked in quickly, then entered without an answer to his knock. He looked to the older man and waved his hand in his direction as he started to move to a burgundy colored bookcase in the room.

“Hey Charlie,” Said the man whom just entered, he was reading the books on the shelves now, fascinated by one every so often, he would pick up one and read the front and back covers before placing it back on the shelf.

“Rick, how’re you doing?” Said the man at the desk, not looking up to talk, he simply continued crunching numbers into his calculator.

“Fine, fine.” Said Rick, now turning to Charlie finally to talk head on.

“How’s the family?” Charlie added, all the while, he typed on his calculator.

Rick didn’t answer right away, he sat on the ledge near the window, staring outwards into the city. Finding his answer amongst millions.

“They’re fine,” He finally said, “Susan’s growing up faster than I can handle.”

“Oh?” Charlie said, becoming interested.

“Yeah, she watches TV with Meredith, and she came up to me after one of her shows last night and guess what she says?” Rick looked back to Charlie for an answer, waiting.

“Hm?”

“She asked me ‘Daddy when I grow up do I have to live with poor people?’ and I just stood there shocked. So I say, ‘What‘s wrong with poor people? Why are you saying such things? What have you been watching?’ Apparently she watches one of those shows where rich people show off all their money and power.”

“Would’ve been my first guess.” Charlie stated, without a doubt. Rick just stared outside while he thought, there was a silence after Charlie said this. It lasted no more than fifty seconds, but to Rick, it felt like a lifetime. And not in an exaggerated overstatement either, Rick literally checked his watch after consciousness returned to him to see if he blacked out or the like. He shook his head.

“What makes a sweet little girl say such a thing?!” Rick said resting his head against the windowpane.

“Ignorance, stupidity? The kid’s probably aspiring for great things now, she’s goanna be quite the brat when she’s a teenager because of that damn thing.”

“What thing?” Rick lifted his head and looked to Charlie for an answer.

“The Tv, that’s what. You got seven hundred thousand commercials a year coming from that idiot box, and that’s just on one channel mind you. Telling you what you should buy and what you shouldn’t. Then you got shows telling you about luxury and refinement, making you feel just low, lower than low even. And if you don’t got what the rich people got, then you’re scum that shouldn’t be living.”

Charlie spook in a gray and monotone voice throughout, he seemed to melt the whole paragraph together into one coherent jumble of ideas. And Rick understood it all, but he questioned it, of course.

“Oh c’mon, you’re telling me aspirations aren’t a good thing Charlie?”

“Everything in moderation my boy, you aim for the top, you end up clawing at the side. Baby steps, slow and simple, small goals being accomplished lead to happiness. Large goals missed lead to suicide.”

“God, that’s a bit cryptic isn’t it Charlie?” Rick said wincing at the thought.

“I mean, people have to dream don’t they? We all want to live in the Emerald city, and live happily ever after, right?”

“Dreams do not equate to aspirations my boy, that’s why they are two separate words. We all dream to fly right? To become invisible and save the world? We all dream for the impossible, because only in our dreams can they be achieved. Aspirations are goals, goals for life. We create goals all the time, goal for a raise, goal for a good grade in school. So on and so on. Rationality is important in aspiring for life. Decadence is not.”

Charlie kept crunching away as he spoke, he kept working, he kept on crunching. Rick stared up into the clouds, the heavens, he dreamt of beauty and freedom. Of equality and love.

Charlie kept thinking about his report due by 5 o’clock.

“What do you dream about Charlie?” Rick said, standing up.



“Y-You want to know what I dream of?” He felt shocked by the question, he stopped crunching numbers and scribbling notes, he looked up into the eyes of the other man whose been in the room for twenty minutes now. He looked, and saw a dreamer, and in the long abyss of that dreamer, he saw something looking back.

It was him, Charlie when he was younger. He had more hair, he had less fat. And he dreamt of things then. He saw himself with a young woman, beautiful and graceful, they were dancing together aboard a cruise-liner in the Baltic sea. Saltwater stained chrome horns announced their arrival to a small island. They left the ocean liner together, and boarded together again, only separate this time. She came back in a small brown box, and he, in a black suit with tears down his cheek.


“I-, I dream of being at home, with the love of my life…” Charlie stopped, breaking eye contact, he leaned back in his chair staring at the ceiling for a moment. He turned and stared out the window, as Rick had done earlier. He too tried to find his answer.

“….And we live, together, not apart.”


Charlie burst into tears in his office chair, Rick placed a hand of comfort onto his shoulder. Charlie cried, Charlie understood, Charlie moved on. A lesson to Rick was learned that day, he found that in a world of dreams and aspirations, man can not hold back his need for worldly comforts. Man must have whatever he can consume. Thus is the cycle.



Thus is the Aspiration of life.





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