As weak and fumbling fingers lose their purchase, the already uptight atmosphere tenses like a spring. Rules and regulations cry out but have no effect. Nothing can stop the plummeting mug of coffee. With little warning, the mug hits the spotless white floor and the contents perform the unthinkable without hesitation. The mug shatters and the coffee splatters across the crowd of black dress shoes with abusive indifference.


The mood is edgy as comments move across the polished plastic table with confident voices and assuming egos. Timothy stands at the head of the table in his shiny haircut and saturated blue tie, his smile permanently humorous and his eyes bright. He is a salesman pitching to a room of salesmen. His smile is a winning one.

One man in the room, however, is at a terrible loss, wondering if the game is even worth playing. Jonathan is grave and silent as he watches the faces twitch between expressions. These are his coworkers, his competition, and his team. Yet he feels alienated, and the only feeling worse than his inability to relate to them is their lack of empathy. He feels like he has died and come back to life and nobody cares.

The hard, judging stares are intimidating in a debilitating way, and Jonathan cannot bring himself to interrupt the meeting. He is imprisoned in silence. And so it continues. Words are offered like poker chips and the business men jostle for authority.

Jonathan’s disguise is questioned a few times, and he is forced to prove his loyalty with lies and stories. He is horrified at how they drink it up without wondering if his words are even real. It leaves a bad taste in his mouth, and he begins to look for an escape. But their black suits surround him like pillars supporting his cage, and their eyes bar his way. The meeting continues.


By mid-afternoon, Jonathan falls as quickly as the coffee mug. He cuts through the rules and regulations like through a mist, his composure shattering and his emotions spilling out across the room.

Grey eyes flash and harsh words attack him, but he cannot be touched. Belongings are scattered across the floor, dress shoes are stomped, and the door is slammed in the councilor’s face. All Jonathan can see is escape, and his desperation is accompanied by anger, fueled by a painful sense of betrayal.

But now he holds a realization like fire in his heart. The tragedy was not an interruption. It was a transition. Continuing his life is not a right. It is a second chance. His shattered world is not meant to be repaired. It is meant to be replaced.

The End

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