Earl’s motionless eyes peered out beyond the window. The sunset cast a radiant array of colours flooding the room around him. All sounds, feelings, and smells, seemed new to him as if he was introduced to these senses for the first time. No thoughts filled his head, no worries, no dreams. Earl felt alone, confused, and lost. A small tap on his door echoed behind him. He turned around to see a woman, dressed completely in white, barely into her thirties. Earl debated in his mind whether he had seen this person before, but could not recognize her face. She handed him a blue and red pill from a small tray on her cart. He willingly accepted this unusual gift and placed it in his mouth. The woman then turned around and closed the door. Earl then focused back on the sunset, lost in time...
Stage 1:
3 years earlier...
April 16, 2001
The students filed into the room, with the occasional troublemaker pushing through the crowd. The desks of the auditorium quickly filled as students sat down and emptied their backpacks which were teeming with loose sheets and books. A door at the front of the room then opened as a professor by the name of Earl Mondell entered the auditorium. He took a few long strides to reach the front of the vast room in which he proceeded to smile and greet the students.
Earl Mondell worked as a professor at the University of Victoria in Vancouver. He was a forty-year old male with thick wavy black hair, and a slight goatee. He was a history teacher and knew just about everything there was to know about civilization. He had won several awards for his great literary achievements. In a few years he had planned a world-wide trip with his wife, to see and experience all Seven Wonders of the World.
Earl unpacked his bags and commenced his lesson....
After explaining and interpreting the concept of hieroglyphics, he suddenly stopped, forgetting what he was going to say. All 212 eyes stared blankly at him, waiting for his next statement. Earl started sweating, wondering why he had forgotten his next topic. A faint cough, followed by a sudden shifting of books was all that could be heard in the deadly silent room. Earl looked at his notes and started reading aloud to mask his embarrassment.
The students were starting to lose interest. Earl’s monotone voice carried on like an old tape-recording of a political conference, making sudden pauses now and then, stuttering and slurring without warning. He then came to a word he did not recognize. He paused and looked at it with complete confusion. An uncontrollable tear dropped from his eye, smudging the unknown word into a pool of ink. Earl was panicking; he felt cold, tired, and disoriented.
The class became edgy. Anxiously wondering why this brilliant-minded professor was stumbling with his lecture. Earl quickly dismissed the class, fumbling with words as he issued them to leave. He hovered over his desk, breathing heavily, frantically trying to grasp his thoughts. A strange fear overwhelmed him, a fear that he had never before experienced. He felt lost. He gazed at his notes, which slowly became a blur of black and white. He lost his balance, tumbling backward onto the ground. Time seemed to stop. He looked up at a light bulb which seemed to fall into the distance. He shut his eyes, and fell into a bottomless pit of dreams.
Stage 2:
One year later...
August 12, 2002
Earl sat at a table, with a strange woman sitting in front of him. She held out a spoon to his face, and he opened his mouth and sipped the liquid. Another spoonful of the delicious unknown liquid sprang up into his mouth.
The lady was dressed in a flowered outfit with long blonde hair, and bright blue eyes. She then took out a small box which seemed to be quite heavy. Several photos of strange people were presented to Earl. She continually pointed at somebody in the photo then back at herself, signalling that she was in the photo. Earl then noticed that he was in the picture, with his arm wrapped around the strange woman who sat next to him. Earl tried to make sense of the situation but couldn’t. He just looked back at the woman with empty eyes.
She then started to cry, as she held Earl’s hand.
As she stood up, she hugged him with heavy sobs vibrating into Earl’s shoulder. Earl felt insecure, and violated. He violently pushed the woman off and ran away screaming, not knowing exactly where he was headed. He picked up a lamp and threw it at the wall in complete fury, causing broken glass to scatter throughout the room. The woman just sat still, watching Earl frantically pace around the room. He sat down shaking uncontrollably. Confusion took over, as he felt totally exhausted.
The blonde woman picked up the phone and started to dial.
Stage 3:
Two years later...
September 21, 2004
Earl sat in an isolated chamber, contained, as if he had a deadly disease. Away from the world, away from his freedom. He did not remember his life, neither the things he used to do, nor the people he had met on a daily basis. He was stranded in a world of emptiness, with nothing but a small bed and a chair, and a heart monitor device making a quiet beeping sound every half a second.
Out of his window was a bird. Yellow like the sun, chirping a melodious tune. Earl sat and watched with great curiosity. The bird started to blur, as did everything else. He fell to the floor, feeling no pain. Then came the dreadful darkness. Once again everything was silent. All but the faint heart monitor could be heard, drifting off into the unknown. Beep, beep, beep...
Earl was quiet. Minding his own business, like a statue, motionless yet alive in spirit. Earl’s wife Veronica was telling him about the upcoming trip to the Seven Wonders of the World. She gently placed the brochure in his shirt pocket along with photographs of their life together.
Her eyes filled with tears. The room grew silent as the casket was closed.
© 2004 The Richmond Hill Public Library Board