short stories

The Path to Enlightenment

Once a man, tired and weary from a long laborious day, sunk into a deep yawn and retreated to his bedroom. He wasn’t ready for bed, but could feel the waves of slumber roll over him and knew he should prepare for retiring.

In this somber state, he thought it fitting to have a light on when he would return–no need stubbing a toe again in his subconsciousness. He flipped the switch that granted power to his table lamp. Nothing. So he followed the cord to the wall. Alas, it lied on the floor unplugged.

“Easy enough, I’ll simply plug it in,” he thought.

He crouched down into the dark depths where that errant plug lied, picked it up and felt along the wall for its socket home. But he couldn’t see through the midnight room and feeling around was getting him nowhere.

“I know,” this time speaking aloud. “I’ll use the light from my cell phone,” and he reached into his left pocket while the right hand guided that orphan plug blindly still.

In this ambidextrous procedure, a realization struck him: that phone sits on the end table in the living room, as his left hand swooped into the pant pocket in vain. “I’d have to leave the room, shuffle down the long corridor past the bathroom, down the stairs, to left of the dining room, trudge into the living room, get my phone and then make that trek back,” he stated, which he knew defeated the purpose of his mission in the first place. The long prospect of this drawn-out process excited synapses in the man’s brain now performing higher functions than moments ago, when he thought he could just flip a switch.

Agitated, the man began to force the now frantic plug into the wall, which only made things worse. Now the ridges around the socket frame escaped him. His anger boiled and he suddenly felt more awake. The man’s frustration was scaring away the Sand Man. A fact that tortured him even more. “I will not spend another night staring at the ceiling!” he asserted in an elevated voice.

At this outburst, he heard his own ridiculousness. Then logic kicked in. “You don’t have to come back right away,” it said. “It’s early yet. You’ll have more opportunities to turn the light on once you have that phone.”

Suddenly the man relaxed. The pressure to unite plug with socket evaporated from his shoulders and he steadied his blind hand. His mind cleared, unfettered by the seemingly impossible task.

Then a light bulb went on over his head. And he saw the light.

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