“Mr. Livingston”

79 Road Street may be an amusing address, but its only resident was not the sprightliest man.

He sat somberly in solitude, contemplating his misalignment with the world and its ways.

He recalled that when he was at his law firm, he won several cases, but the pressures and the austerity haunted him. He resigned.

He was seeing a therapist at the time, and when he informed her of his unemployment, she muttered, “I knew it.”

He frowned at her.

“I didn’t say anything,” she answered subtly yet defensively.

He decided that skipping those sessions was a more therapeutic option than enduring her unsettling disposition.

A few months later, the sums of money he spent and discarded had occurred to him, and he proceeded to terminate his therapy.

During his last session, he incisively evinced his psychological expertise and concluded that she had narcissistic personality disorder.

He thought he had reached closure until he realized that it was not in his position to diagnose his therapist.

He had not used his bank accounts, credit cards, or driver’s license during the decade since his unemployment. And his only contact was his favorite nephew, who had visited him recently; to him, the visit was an adequate substitute for his therapy. But the moment his busy nephew departed, he capitulated to the perpetually discordant screaming in his brain.

So, the man strolled past his neighborhood and sought to divert himself to the novelty of his surroundings. He approached a place apart from all tumult, thoroughly surrounded by the greenness of groves. He supinely lay on the grass, muttering laments to himself occasionally, for he had no companion. But he was secluded from the perennial battle of the world, and he was no longer lost. 

His eyes shut. The redness of his eyelids faded into black with floating neon-colored phosphenes.

His next-door neighbor, an ordinary teenage boy with an innocently mischievous smile, found this place and approached him. “Hi, Mr. Livingston,” he said.

Mr. Livingston was not the man’s name; rather, it was the exalted name of the boy’s former English teacher of whom the man reminded him. The man appreciated this title, since he himself had forgotten his own name. The man opened his eyes.

“Hello,” the man said, marveling at the boy’s artlessness. “Please begin your simple conversation.”