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Into The Mystic MAG
"Are you OK? I hope you haven't had too much to idrink again," the woman implored sleepily.
"Really, I'm fine. Just listen, meet me at the caf" on the corner of Raspail and Montparnasse. You know I can't stand it here. My psychiatrist says it's a mid-life crisis, but I think I just hate everyone I work with," said the man.
"You're crazy, it's almost midnight. Why can't we meet tommor,"
"I know, I know, but I have some important news to break," he interrupted.
"This had better be good," the woman replied.
"I promise. Besides, would I ever let you down?" the man pleaded, as he hung up the phone before the woman could answer.
Berk States grasped for the railing as he staggered up the stairway. Rumi-nating from the darkness below, he could hear the bourgeois cachinnations whip through his head like a wet towel. Step after steeper burdening step, the overwhelming effects of the whiskey became apparent. Beads of sweat cascaded down his brow. Fate had spared Berk from hardship but fortune was merciless. Twenty-odd years of tedious labor had afforded him a comfortable position in life and many meaningless company parties such as this, but emotionally, Berk was deprived. Overcoming his groggy vision, he finally made his way to the bathroom.
"Goodness!" he exclaimed, "It's funny how much you can tell about a family just from their bathroom." A contorted floral odor prevailed heavily through the stagnant air. By the sink, seashell-shaped soap displayed itself stalely. Moreover, spanning the walls, gold-framed mirrors reflected the bright bathroom lights. Berk found the bathroom nauseating. Alienated, he squinted into the mirror only to find his face pale and worn.
"My, the years have passed," he painfully reminded himself.
Calmly, he turned the faucet on to let the cool water trickle through his hands. Then, he carefully raised his left hand to take off his silver rimmed glasses, which he placed by the soap. Lowering his head to the sink, he proceeded to wash his face. With his eyes following the water whirling into the drain below, Berk began to think of his life. "It seems as if I'm stuck in the gyre of materialism, huh?" he groaned. At this point his cheeks were numb from his scrubbing hands, but he kept clawing. Finally after discharging many tears into the swirling water, Berk looked back up into the mirror. His face now looked viable. Upon closer inspection, though, he noticed that his reflection had bounced off the mirror behind, thus causing hundreds of concentric reflections of his pink face. Contem-plations swelled from within. "Who is this on the sheath of my soul? He is but a stranger to myself wrapping me tightly under his hard coating, molded by other people's values. Cold, unemotional...all he cares for, I have outgrown. The Adeals,' money, everything has grown tiresome. To tear my captive soul from this useless corpse would be the comet of inspiration! To live the way I want... I must get away from this business before it kills me... I must live!"
Reality finally set in. Berk hastily grabbed his glasses and quelled the streaming water. Renewed with the prospects of a spirited life, he sailed down the stairs like a cat. As he slipped out the door, he could only hear his cohorts wondering why he had left so soon. "So comfortable and snug in their hopeless condition that they don't experience life's boundless treasures," he smirked to himself. A chilling wind howled through the hollow door frame.
Montparnasse Tower loomed luminously over Paris. On the cobblestone streets below, Berk could hear the city at sleep. Underground rumblings of the metros whizzing by, groups of teenagers parading their youth in the streets, and drunkards' calls of misery filled the air.
Through the cafe's glossy window, Berk could see his Camille waiting at the corner table. Dimly lit and hazy from myriad roaming cigarettes, the cafe's tables were sparsely occupied, but teeming with memories. Camille's soft brown eyes darted to meet Berk's as he sat down. Edging her chair closer to the petite table, she extended her elbows in front of her head near his. Her neatly cropped hair lilted unevenly on her shoulders.
"So, what's the important news?" she asked.
"I've got wonderful news. I've decided to leave my job and experience life out in the mountains," he said while lighting up a cigarette. "I hear the mountain lakes are beautiful this time of year."
"I think we should talk about this tomorrow when your head clears up," Camille suggested as she started to get up.
"Wait! I'm fine, finer than ever. Half my life's up and all I want is to live freely. Don't you see, I have nothing to my name."
"Don't say that. You're very successful in business."
"It means nothing to me anymore. The same grind, day-in, day-out, has wasted away my youthful aspirations and made me old and mechanical."
"Call me in the morning. You just can't throw away your life like this," Camille said, walking towards the door.
Somberly, Berk rose and started trudging toward the exit. Silent cigarette embers wafted aimlessly behind his path, smashing violently into the floor. Passing the bartender on the way out, he noticed that another young couple had taken up the corner table. Berk stepped out of the door and into the mystics of soul searching. n