Alastor Reynolds had always lived with an overly long list of habits. Every morning he would wake up at precisely 6:27. Why 6:27 you might ask ? Well Mr. Reynolds would simply answer that it was so that it gave him time to wake up before getting up, he had three full minutes to open his eyes, get his barring back and get out of his bed. By the time he was standing up it would be precisely half past six.
Then he would come down the stairs, hoping over the first and the last steps because it gave him a bad vibe for the day. He would sit down at his table with a cup of black coffee and wait patiently a full minute for his toasts to hop. Three toasts with butter and strawberry jam that he would dip every twenty seconds in his coffee before taking a bite. When his breakfast was over a quarter of an hour later he would put his dishes in the dish washer and climb back up the stairs two by two, careful not to step on the first and last steps.
After another quarter of an hour of face washing, beard shaving and teeth brushing he would walk to his room and dress in his suite. A white shirt and a dark red tie would go with a black pair of pants, black shoes and a black jacket. Then he would put on his watch on the right wrist because he could never get accustomed to putting on the other side. And at 7:10 he would be ready to go to work, locking his door and climbing in his grey work car. On his ways to work he would count the number of seconds each traffic light lasted and drive through each one of them while they were green.
At noon Mr. Reynolds liked to go down to the cafeteria of the company where he worked and order a caesar salad with extra sauce. He would eat his salad either alone in his office if he had much work that day or with his friend Paul on the picnic takes outside the building if the weather was sunny. Then after an afternoon of hard work he would get back home at precisely 8 o’clock and would eat while watching the evening news. Then at 10:25pm he would turn off all lights and get into bed for a good night sleep, giving himself five minutes to get ready. And he would repeat this routine every day of the week.
All these days were an unchanging routine adopted by Alastor Reynolds over the years to reassure himself of his control over his life. Indeed because of bullying in his childhood Mr. Reynolds was very unsure of himself at all times and so he likes to comfort himself by keeping control and order the events happening in his life. As you have probably understood by now, Alastor Reynolds was still single. Of course he had had some adventures with women before but it hadn’t worked out well… Partly due to all his habits but mostly because he hadn’t found anyone to his real liking yet. All those women he had met had seemed too shallow and possessive to him.
Saturdays he would spend the day cleaning the studio that was his. That was the day that Mr. Reynolds was the most overcome by his habits. Every saturday morning, after waking up at eight and eating a quick breakfast he would start sweeping the dust, sorting out every object that he considered as “to be put to the trash” by size, color and material in small plastic bags. There always were five different plastic bags : red for te food, green for the glass, yellow for the metallic scraps, blue for cardboard and wood and white for the food that was past its expiration date. After putting all this in bags he would dust every room from ground to ceiling and polish it until it shined. Then he would put order in his clothes, planning his dressing for the week.
Then he would take the bags down to the trash and come back up to wash himself. After a shower and if he deemed himself clean enough he would rearrange every object in his house so that it took back its original place. He even had pictures of every object’s position if he ever had a doubt, which he hadn’t as he had what many would call perfect memory. This allowed him to remember everything he wanted. But also everything he did not want to remember… Then he usually went to see Dr. Andrews, and he would talk about his very little understanding of other people and, on rare occasions, of his fears. The doctor often said that he would greatly need a break from his work and his life, that he should go on a holiday somewhere nice and warm. But Alastor Reynolds was not a man of inaction, he prefered to work and continue in his routine.
The only break in his routine was on Sundays. Every Sunday he would choose something different to do, a different place to go out to or simply a different book to read. He tried to keep it random but he often liked to go to the beach and sit on the soft sand while he watched the ocean and listened to music. These were some of his favorite moments in life for he felt appeased and serene. He liked to imagine himself living in another world, a world without obligations, work or bosses to check on what you were doing. He liked to imagine himself floating along the stars, witnessing the great marvels of the universe with his own eyes.
But his routine would always catch up to him for Monday always came round. He sometimes wished that he was an adventurer, travelling around the world, climbing mountains and discovering jungles. He dreamt of flying planes, fighting imaginary armies, being a war hero. He aspired to something better, something greater, but alas for now he was just a law firm employee. And he was conscious that with his habits, which he knew were more than that but was too uncomfortable talking about psychological disorder, he would be so probably for the rest of his life.
If only he could get rid of all this and do as the doctor said… “Get rid of all the junk you don’t need Alastor. You should really try, you’ll see the world from a new eye…” Oh how he longed to do that. But he was scared, too scared. Scared of everything : the huge world out there, the others, himself… What he needed was a change, something big, an upheaval in his life. “Get rid of all the junk.” Well easier said than done doctor ! He thought. He had tried not to count everything, he had tried not to be always so distant and stiff, he had tried to open to the world, to be carefree. But it simply wasn’t for him…
He sighed. He closed the window on his desktop and sighed. The clock showed quarter past seven, time to go home he thought. He shut down his computer and put on his long dark coat and took his leather suitcase in which he kept his work-related documents. It was old but he was very attached to it, it was a memory from his father. As he exited the room and walked in the corridor towards the elevator a voice called for him.
“Alastor, wait !” He turned around to see a young woman. He remembered her to be Stephanie Anderson, a colleague from the IT department.
“Oh, hello Ms. Anderson. May I help you ?” He asked, very forma but tempting a small smile. As he asked that he looked at her coming towards him. He had never taken the time to really look at her, well he had never taken the time to get to really know anyone in the company over the eight years he had been there. Except Paul, he thought. She was taller than most women, though not as tall as Alastor, with long slender legs. She had dark hair falling over he shoulders in long curls and big blue eyes were one could drown himself without realizing it. She was dressed with a white blouse and a black skirt. She appeared much younger than she actually was but still she must have been at least ten years younger than him, about twenty-two or twenty-three he guessed. She approached him with a bright smile.
“Hello Alastor, I was hoping to catch you before you left. Looks like was right on time!” She smiled even brighter, if it was even possible. “And yes you can help me. You see, I have to get all these numbers ordered and clarified before my boss allows me to ask for the new material I need but I am really lost and I hoped you could help me… If it’s not asking too much!” She added quickly, her face expectant. Alastor thought about it for a few seconds, of course it would be more work for the next few days but he always tried to help as much as he could. He nodded and tried to smile a second time but managed only a small grimace.
“But I would totally understand if you couldn’t!” Added the young woman hastily. She had surely noticed his contrite smile and had thought it was because he was trying to be polite by accepting.
“Of course not! I’ was just trying a small smile but apparently to no avail.” He said looking sorry. “Please. Just tell me what you need and I’ll be happy to do my best.” He responded. She smiled brightly at him and to his great surprise hugged him, which made him jump slightly.
“Thank you so much !” Stephanie exclaimed. “I really need help on this one, you’re doing me great favor!” Then realizing what she had done she blushed slightly. “Oh… umm… sorry about the… ahem… hug, uhm I know you don’t, well… Anyway! I’m really happy you agreed, thank you…”
“Dont worry, it’s okay.” Alastor said. “I’m happy to help.”
“Okay then, it’s settled. I’ll come by your office tomorrow at ten, I know you take a small brake at that time, if you don’t mind so I can explain what’s to be done!”
“Right, tomorrow at ten. I’ll be waiting.” He said, this time managing a small but genuine smile. “See you tomorrow then Ms. Anderson.” He added as he was leaving.
“Yes, see you tomorrow Alastor.” She answered as he walked away. And before he entered the elevator she added almost shouting. “And you can call me Stephanie !”
Alastor Reynolds looked up and saw that she was waving at him with her smile yet again spread on her face. As the doors slowly shut before him he waved back at her and smiled to himself. Well, maybe I could be wrong after all… And strangely, for once, that thought didn’t bother him the least.
So, yeah, another text in reply to a daily prompt that I wrote some time ago. It was inspired the movie Stranger than Fiction with Will Ferrell and Maggie Gyllenhaal that I watched a few years back and really enjoyed.
I’m not really satisfied with this one, I mean, I’ve checked for mistakes in the grammar and spelling so that should be okay, but I feel like I had a different vibe in mind when I started writing it then when I finished it, I feel like the second half isn’t as good as it could’ve been… I might come back to it one day and re-write it completely.
Anyway, that’s my point of view, tell me if you agree or not!