Wake Up Jerry by Chris Wight

typewriter

In the beginning the days had no names. Jerry chased soap bubbles in the sunshine over freshly-cut grass, while his father strummed the guitar. Life was an easy rhythm of wonders with no conceivable end.

“Wake up, Jerry! Time for school!” his mother called one Monday morning, the same day Friday found a special place in his heart.

At the university Jerry studied music first, computers second. He learned guitar just like his dad, and on weekends he played in a band.

After graduation he deferred to pressures of survival and the expectations of others. Computers came first, music last.

Jerry scored a solid job at a big corporation. He solved problems, worked hard, and came to crave Friday more than ever. He was never lame enough to say “thank God it’s Friday” at the end of each week, but the expression seemed as natural as earning a paycheck.

Years passed and Jerry marched to the steady drumbeat of employment, settling into a pattern of five days of noble stress followed by two high days of discretionary reprieve. Every week was a race to Friday, and every Monday was a penance for the weekend excesses that had been needed to forget the previous week. He lived a rhythm that no guitar could play.

“Wake up, Jerry! Time for work,” his wife yelled from the other room. Jerry lay on his back and stared at the bedroom ceiling: “Shit, I can’t believe it’s only Tuesday.”

At the office Jerry worked late into the evening. He got a call from an old friend and band member who wondered if he would come to their show. Some other time, he told the friend. This was part of being a responsible adult, he reminded himself.

A colleague stopped by his cubicle on the way out. “Hang in there, Jerry. Friday will be here before we know it,” he said. Jerry nodded, and soon fell asleep at his desk.

In his dreams, more years passed, and another Wednesday came along. By now the rhythm of work was firmly super-coiled into his DNA. On Thursday Jerry was anxious, fat, and gray.

Friday arrived none too soon. Jerry enjoyed a modest retirement party, where he spoke with young new-hires about tolerating life in the office for so many years.

“Just hang in there. Friday will be always be there before you know it,” Jerry joked, but for the first time he feared Saturday.

The party emptied out, and Jerry found himself alone, but not lonely. His old Gibson acoustic leaned against the wall in the corner. He picked it up, stepped onto the balcony under the night sky and began to play, each note as effortless and true as the dreams of his youth. Soap bubbles drifted down in the dark and burst at his feet, but he would never fear death again.

“Wake up, Jerry!” his boss yelled.

Jerry woke and lifted his head from the desk. He ignored his boss, grabbed his coat, and left the office. “Thank God it’s only Tuesday,” he was relieved to say. 

Christopher Wight

 

Header image: By Kronos.cz (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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