Monday, October 19, 2015

The Watch Guard, Part I

I see wrinkly hands glowing in the dark. They are attached to a man with chapped lips, long wild hair and missing teeth. The man’s spine looks to be permanently bent over, never to be aligned into a straight position again.

The man stands next to the wooden door, the door we have all come to know as the entrance to the Unknown. He looks no one in the eye until he calls their name among the darkness.

His voice sounds like rock against pavement. There is no melody or song to his voice, just rough sounds from a hard heart. Standing in line, I stare at the back of a man’s shiny bald head to keep my mind awake.

I can’t help but wonder, how does this scary old man in the dark decide who gets to go on? 
I have never been told. 

I just know I have been waiting with hurting knees and headaches all my life. Just standing in line, waiting for my name to be called. I don’t even know what I am waiting for, to be honest. Or what is beyond this mysterious, ugly door.

The watch guard is an honor, people say. But I don’t think so. It feels dirty, to accept some people, to call their name, look them in the eyes, and let them through, while others stand and wait. To be the one thing that stands between a person and an opportunity, to be the ultimate gateway between life and death.

My fingers curl by my side, my breath gets shorter, faster, and I feel my heart beat out of control against my chest. For a second, I think I can almost hear its beat and I feel my cheeks burn with embarrassment.

Name is called.
Steps are taken.
The door opens.
The door closes.

And I wait.
And I wait.

And I wait.

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