He was seeing things again. As the man prepared to leave for work, he could have sworn that lying against the corner of his hallway was a cane. A silver topped cane at that. Black ebony wood tapering down to a dull grey coloured tip. It took him by surprise as initially he thought that it looked as if it belonged there. Yet when he looked again, the cane had become an umbrella.
He needed more sleep. The dreams of the past few weeks had been vivid and unrelenting. Each night he found himself inhabiting another persons body. This person was both him and not him. Confident, he would strut across the landscape righting wrongs and generally being fantastic.
Fantastic. Now there was a word that he had not used in a very long time. Indeed he could not remember ever using that word. His life was just a series of average events, happening daily. He got up, readied himself for work, sat in a cubicle for 8 hours with only the lunch break providing any break from the routine. Yet it too had become routine. Go out of the office, buy a sandwich and sit in a local park eating it. If the weather was bad, he sat inside the sandwich shop. Then back to the boring mundane task of daily work. Afterwards, he would head to the local pub for a few drinks and a toasted cheese sandwich, before heading home and going straight to bed, to start it all again in the morning.
Today he felt different. Whether it was the imagined cane or something else he was not sure. On his way home he found himself taking a detour to a clothes shop. This was not something he did that often but today, it just felt right. His work attire was staid and far too many colours of brown. Picking up a black shirt and a red tie, he headed to the cash desk. The assistant did not take his eyes off of the small screen of his mobile phone as he rang the purchases through. Paying, the man felt something shift. It was if a weight had been lifted ever so slightly. Colours of the world outside seemed more vivid. He did not go to the pub as normal and headed straight home.
Inside the greyness of the surroundings was oppressing. He remembered why he spent so little time in this place. Rummaging in his freezer, he removed a microwave meal and started it cooking in the microwave. Heading upstairs he lingered at the only picture that hung there. Something was significant about this but try as he might he could not put his finger on it. Shaking his head he went to his bedroom and got changed.
The image in the mirror looked familiar to him. There he stood wearing all black with just a sliver of thin red tie to break up the darkness. Even he had to admit that he looked good and he did wonder why he had not tried this before. His mood began to lift as he took in the whole outfit, the beeping of the now ready microwave meal, was just ignored. Hidden in the back of his wardrobe was an old pair of black jeans that he could not remember ever owning. He had taken his old forties style raincoat and this just transformed his look. Something that he had not worn for ages due to the perceived fashion mistake, had turned out to be far more useful than he had expected. The man in the mirror looked ever more familiar.
Satisfied with this look, he decided to treat himself to a drink in the local pub. As he closed the wardrobe door, he felt something clunk in the raincoat pocket. Taking out the small bottle of black nail varnish, he stared at it for a long time. There was a reason why this was in his pocket, why couldn’t he remember?
Minutes later his nails were gleaming black and his mood had lifted even further. He was now ready.
As he left the house, he reached for the umbrella and walked out of the door with his cane.