The Hollow Body
Part 1 - Major Minor
We're burning down the highway skyline
On the back of a hurricane
That started turning
When you were young
- The Killers
Danny watches the sun rays dapple through the curtains for what must have been an hour following particles in the dust light before stirring from his trance. Time to rise, begin the day, but starting late is just fine because it’s his birthday.
On the bathroom counter, his toothpaste is upside down in a plain water glass, the toothbrush right side up. Danny turns on the water, wets the brush, and squeezes the toothpaste directly into his mouth. He never looks in the mirror when he brushes his teeth because he doesn’t like people watching him, which includes himself. Danny only looks at the finished product. He pats his mouth dry with a towel, looks up, gazes into his middle-aged eyes, and gives himself a good morning.
“Good morning Danny, ” his teeth shining and his face fresh.
Danny grabs his clothes, picked out the day before, hanging behind the bedroom door. He buttons up his white oxford shirt except for the collar, slips his belt-less pants over his boxers, and fastens the clip. Next, come his mid-calf nylon socks and worn oxford shoes. He ties them effortlessly, lace by lace, in a rhythmic methodical weave. Swiping his flip phone off the dresser, Danny can see through the tape that it has half a charge.
Walking the hallway toward the kitchen, Danny stops at a framed picture hanging at eye level, which is exactly six feet, as measured in the morning. His dad is twenty-seven in this photo with Ginger the cat on one knee, and Edmund on the other. Danny runs his finger down the photo, first over Dad and then slower over Edmund, and finally tickling Ginger under the chin. A picture of Mom hangs to the right with a smile and glow that faded and never returned after Edmund went missing.
At the outer end of the hall stands Edmund’s guitar. Edmund played it that day. He had a song to play for Danny to. Lifting the guitar, Danny shakes it up and down by the neck to listen to the pick bounce around the hollow body.
Edmund, then Mom, and then Dad.
Danny’s hallway gallery reminds him daily of his orphan status in the world.
“Happy birthday to me,” he sings.