The Bitter Pill

For the first time in a long time, Horace stopped to look down the jetty. It was like a rifle sight that was aimed at the natural beauty beyond. The sun was shining, the ripples were lapping musically against the shore and life was beautiful. It was bittersweet though, because it was bad news that made him open his eyes. The nourishing breeze ran its fingers through his thinning hair. The sea breeze was laden with something physical that nourished his skin, and something spiritual that nourished his soul. He stood for ages, just enjoying.

Every day he walks past the jetty on his way to the doctor’s office. Rather than admiring the view, he’s worrying about whether or not the latest chemical remedy will alleviate his ailments. He’s tried Movoprom, Manicol, Retistat, Vexoprom, Anocim, Hydrogen Peroxide and Voodoo. His doctor brought him down to earth today, telling him “you’ve just got to enjoy the time you have left.”

A weight was lifted when Horace’s doctor gave him permission to start enjoying his life. He’d spent so much time and energy trying to live as long as anyone else, that he’d forgotten to live as well as anyone else.

The sun began to set and the chill set in. Many dog-walkers and joggers suspiciously passed this man that was staring out at the sea. He was entranced. Suddenly, Horace broke out in laughter. He startled a passing dog-walker. The laughing continued.

The walker tried to pull his head into his jacket, like a turtle would, in order to protect himself from the crazed man. He tugged on his dog’s leash as his pace quickened and just then Horace erupted with “have a nice day sir!” It was a deep, assertive remark that billowed forth from his belly. And then the laughter continued. The walker’s apprehension dissolved so he stopped and wished the same in return before he too was afflicted with the infectious laughter.

Nearby cafe patrons and adjacent holidaymakers stopped what they were doing to observe the ruckus. Before long, the pathogenic laughter had gripped everyone.

After the jovial spirit had exhausted its inertia, the people who had joined in the concert waved each other farewell, and everyone left with a smile on their face. Finally, Horace had figured out what it was all about. He sat in a nearby seat, letting the cool air sap the warmth from his body. His eyes closed and he could feel the strength leaving him. The night set in, and Horace was cured.

T.

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