Marvin knew that first steps were always the hardest, knew it but for some reason didn't overcome. Today like all the days before he just sat there. the mess around him growing with each feeding, each snack, every change of clothes and every trip to the store. A, when compared to the globe as a whole, microcosm of life existed and grew in on and around this mess.
It bothered him.
Right now it was the fly that bothered him, but it would find some other space to hover around and he’d fall to looking at the amount of trash that surrounded him. This is where he took in a deep breath through the nose and examined it for any trace of embarrassment. The rotted chicken that he threw in the trash, not rotten then of course, the spoiled musk-like reek that would come from some forgotten glass he probably filled and forgot when the stuper filled him. He thought there might be something he’d have to dispose of but on second sniff he figured he’d have at least until tonight before he’d have to make sure he removed it.
With that he grunted and with pops, cracks and pings that belonged to a man much older than he, he stood up, patted his belly, tweaked his right nipple and decided to get ready for the day.
He removed the baggy shorts, target clearance, wiped the sweat from along his crotch and sniffed the hand as it passed his nose on the way to scratching his head. He passed his bedroom and tossed the shorts on the top of a pile of clothes that long since outgrew it’s hampers.
The shower was a refuge. no man, let’s correct that, no person should take twenty minutes to clean themselves, but Marvin was thurogh. Between every toe, the arch. He rubbed and relished the feel of the cloth rubbing on every part of his body. Behind the knee and all around his groin and crack.
He begins to show attention to the pit of his left arm and a pressure, something like a burning, pushed from behind the eyes. He could let the water out, the shower would hide it. but he couldn’t. First steps are the hardest, he just wouldn’t overcome. The day had started. Sitting didn’t work, any more today than all the other times he did it.
He had to leave the one place he felt, anything. Toweled off and squeezed into the bedroom for phase two. The hair, extra product, he just hadn’t wanted to get his hir trimmed. He’d have to go soon, but he could put it off a few more days. just so long as he did it before he had to put too much product. Then he’d look unprofessional. No he couldn’t do that.
Two days growth, at four he had to trim it, the scruff was harder to maintain than a full beard. Scruff hinted at youth and the small flecks of silver showing up needed to be countered. Chest, the hair had to be just the right length. Pubes, he’d taken care of those yesterday.
Back in his room, In a box, slacks, black, smooth, a knife sharp crease, and darker stripes only seen from inches away. The salesman, thinking he was relating, called them whore stripes, because only the one blowing you would see them, but they gave the illusion of energy. On the rack a custom sewn shirt, darker than royal the single thread silver stripes set to accent an already impressive V shape.
Underwear not chosen for their comfort but for their relatability, socks, shoes. All gathered and assembled with a military tuck and a last glance in the mirror. He looked at the front door, this time there was no running water so he blinked back the pressure, not that he’d ever let it out.
Marvin was back home. Not any happier for making it through the day. The slaps on the butt, the pinching, of the other secretaries. His ass actually hurt. Men don’t complain about those things. He and Wardo, who insists that the Ed part of his name was actually just offencive, were at the gym at lunch with Mr. Caplain and a few other C-levels. If he could just catch one of their eyes. find a way to just be hired away from the hell of women, touching, insinuating, hinting and getting mad because he did or did not reciprocate. His boss one of the worse.
He rubs the offended butt cheek and looks at the canvas in the corner. Pencil lines, and some, a few strokes with the brush. How long since he put those there? Last June? He took a first step, then the sales meeting in Atlanta.
He stripped down to the underwear chosen for relatability rather than comfort, folded everything and put them in the safe boxes, off limits to the rest of the mess, and went to the mirror. A 38 year old looked back at him. Not bad, good shape; not sure how that happened. The eyes of that man, they accused him. Accused him for leaving Sarah, for not doing his art, for not even trying to get any of it back. They blamed him for the work he wouldn’t leave, couldn’t leave. How could he? He had no skills.
He grabbed some low sugar beef jerky, and a coconut water, the plain kind because of the lower sugar, he didn’t like it. Then with his back to the corner with the canvas that had pencil lines and a few strokes, Marvin sat again. It never worked, they said it would, but it never did. All it did was remind him that first steps were hard. The problem, the thing that none of this helped with was that he realized a long time ago. They are all first steps.