Momentous: A Compilation of Micro Stories Acting as Glimpses of the Eternal Magic of Life's Moments

By Stephen Parato

Short stories

eBook, Audiobook

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304
3 mins

This Morning

I was fresh out of the shower, bulletproof coffee in hand and preparing to email an article I wrote. The smirk of inner peace gleaming, as I dove into the depths of my essence. Suddenly, a deafening “WHOOOOOP!” invaded my sensory perception and snatched me out of the creative ocean. In a state of transcendental suspended animation, time melted into intense stillness. The kind of powerful stillness only brought on by an adrenaline rush. The announcement declared an emergency and instructed everyone to evacuate the building from the nearest staircase. In a swift dance of garment-fluttering magnificence, I leapt into clothing like a puma pouncing on prey. Then, with Tasmanian devil-like motion, I catapulted around my apartment, slinging the absolute necessities into my black backpack before morphing into a hero’s march out the door.

The orange and red colors of the hallway came alive with renewed vibrancy. To my right, the closed door in the middle of the hallway gave me a menacing stare. I instinctively went left.

Pushing open the exit door was like hopping through a portal. A gateway to the suspenseful new world of the parking garage stairwell. I was greeted by the half-asleep faces of a young couple meandering down the stairs, trailed by another man in his early 20’s. “Do you guys know what’s goin on?” I asked, in the intonation of intrinsic connection that emergencies tend to bring out. The guy with his girlfriend replied “No idea, but it’s probably serious if they’re doin’ this at 8 in the morning.” His voice exuded a cautious mix between the threat of imminent danger and the inconvenience of being forced from his comfortable bed, into the frigid New Hampshire air.

I opened the door into the parking garage on the second floor, giving it a quick 360 degree survey as I stepped out onto the snow-glazed pavement. It seemed eerily calm. I grabbed my car keys from my coat pocket and pressed the unlock button. The Infinite Love Mobile responded with its familiar, friendly chirp. Throwing my backpack in the backseat, I hopped inside my protective exoskeleton and started the engine. A slow reverse, a turning of the wheel and a slow motion ease ahead. I coolly coasted out of the parking garage with the sounds of Sade serenading me through the speakers. Glancing through the rearview mirror, the sight sparked a peacefully dismal relief. I caught the image of a pair of fire trucks parked on the curb, red lights flashing, silently illuminating the gray atmosphere of the wintery morning.
I guess I’m going to work early today.


Hot Showers in Snowstorms

Still lost in deep thought, I peered above the towel at my dripping reflection in the illuminated mirror. My upper body, still pumped from the workout, was like a plate of armor, guarding against the fragility of modern lifestyle.

At risk of losing ideas to the ethers, I quickly dried myself and waltzed naked to this very computer (where I’m writing this). And so it begins.

With the warm water flowing over my face, I relaxed my way up Maslow’s hierarchy. The double-edged sword of comfort sliced into the pond of pondering, sending a ripple-effect through my consciousness. “Am I weak because I have the luxury to take a hot shower in the midst of a snowstorm?” I asked myself. Probably, but not necessarily. If I was forced to endure the harsh outdoors of February, I would adapt to the challenge. The human spirit, if not crushed, will find a way to persevere. Yet some part of me periodically wants to put that to the test. This is why I hike mountains, travel to foreign countries and intermittently shatter my comfort zones with reckless spontaneity. This is why I push the limits of my muscular strength during workouts and push the limits of my imagination while writing. It is to reclaim the primal human-ness that modern coddling has robbed from us.

Blink… To the other paradigm… Leisure envelopes my soul, body and mind as the warm rain falls and runs down my physique. The opportunity cannot be taken for granted. It must be cherished, not wasted on the disgrace of ungratefulness. With this comfort, I have the responsibility to expand the boundaries of consciousness, both mine and the collective as a whole.


The Unexpected Guru

I found myself actively avoiding him.

He served as the physical embodiment of everything I didn’t want to be… Over-bearing, painfully busy (with no time to find meaning), stressed, preoccupied with minutiae, physically worn out, pudgy, materialistic, inauthentic, distastefully dismissive and serially rude. A harsh persona, to say the least.

Like everyone, deep-down, he was a great person, but it was covered up by the many layers life had thrown upon him. He was buried alive by the grave digger of societal conditioning.

His mental acuity was beyond the grasp of most people, but that compelling intelligence was telescoped on the most asinine of activities. Our job wasn’t making any positive impact on the world, nor allowing us to express even a trace of our true purpose. Yet he was so serious about what is essentially numbers on screens.

I was in the same physical space, but on a radically different spiritual path. My consciousness was dipped in silently golden meditation and his presence was like the ear-splitting sounds of death metal, blaring through enormous speakers. Little did I know, his tornado-like personality was the best test of zen.

My anti-role model. The exemplar of the life that would leave me miserable and unfulfilled. He acted as a stop sign. A piece of obnoxiousness in my path that serendipitously forced me to come to a standstill, assess my surroundings and change direction.

Though I have no desire to even be in his vicinity, I thank him for being one of the best teachers life has given me.


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