Golden Morning

Glen unfolded the morning newspaper carefully, making sure not to rip any part of it. He was one of the only people in his building who still got a paper newspaper delivered. He knew this because he was always awake early enough to receive the paper straight from the deliveryman’s hands, and he became friendly with him over time and asked him whether there were many deliveries to be made in that neighborhood. The deliveryman just shook his head and smiled sadly. It was too early for him to engage in conversation and he answered Glen’s questions in monosyllables, releasing the words from his mouth as if they were precious bits of energy that he had to conserve.
Although Glen wasn’t personally invested in any business that had to do with the news – he wasn’t a reporter, nor did he own a publication of any sort – he still felt a deep and abiding kinship that dated back to the days of his early childhood, when he would watch his father iron the newspaper with gloved hands before unfolding it carefully and reading it in its entirety over his long breakfast. The ritual fascinated him as a child, and he saw something sacred in it. His mother had always told him not to disturb his father while he was reading the newspaper, and Glen, always an obedient child, still remembered the hushed mornings when he would play with his heavy metal train set, moving the cars quietly over the little rails and mouthing the “woo-woo!” that, at other times of day, he would shout out exuberantly every time the train ran under the little bridge he’d constructed over it with three hardcover books.
Although Glen didn’t iron the newspaper – he didn’t mind getting his hands a little dirty from the smudgy ink – he read the paper front to back every morning before heading out to work. It took him three cups of milky coffee, drunk slowly as it cooled to room temperature and below, to finish the pages, which, these days, seemed to be filled with more advertisements than articles.
When he finished the paper, he would fold it up just as carefully, and then would go downstairs and put it in the mailbox of apartment 14, where old Mr. Spiegal lived. Old Mr. Spiegal had stopped getting a pension when the company he’d worked for had gone bankrupt and had had to cancel his newspaper subscription in order to cut down on costs. He had been gruffly thankful when Glen offered to give him the newspaper every morning.
Glen’s ritualized morning ended with the action of popping the neatly folded newspaper into Mr. Spiegal’s mailbox. After he did that, he was never quite sure what to do next, and had to improvise every morning anew. He still hadn’t found a new job after the factory had laid him off, and although he continued applying for new positions, there were many days during which his only obligation was to avoid spending more money than he needed to. He had a nest-egg from his parents that he’d never touched until three months ago when he found himself, for the first time since high school, out of work.
This morning, he decided to go for a walk. He had a phone interview scheduled for the afternoon, and nothing else to do until then. The sun had come out from behind the fog that had shrouded it in the early hours and the day was beginning to look like the first real spring day of the year.
Walking down the pathway from the dilapidated apartment building, Glen stretched his arms above his head and tugged each hand with the other, the better to stretch his shoulders. As he turned right onto the sidewalks, he let his arms fall down to his sides, shook his head, took a deep breath, and began to walk.
There was nowhere in town that was unfamiliar to him anymore. He’d walked every inch of it, even ducking into a few private yards, just to see if there was a magic garden concealed by the stocky buildings that his them.
This morning, he decided to take the path that led up to the only hill in town, where the wealthy people lived. He found himself turning to this familiar walk more and more often lately, and he had a suspicion that there lurked in his breast some illogical hope that being around moneyed people would give him luck of some sort.

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3 thoughts on “Golden Morning

  1. Another nice story! I really enjoyed reading it!
    Though there’s a bit of confusion in it. At first you write that he would read the newspaper before heading to work. That bit made me assume he had work. While later it turns out he doesn’t. I understand it was something he had been doing till he got fired, but I don’t know, something about that kind of stumped me?
    Anyway, having a morning ritual is always nice! I notice that now that I recently moved. I’m still trying to find my new morning ritual 🙂

  2. Erin M says:

    I’ve never heard of ironing a newspaper before! Does it actually set the ink, or is it just to get the folds out?

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