The Inauthentic Life

fearful man hiding his face on the phone

It was payday and he had to get to a machine before it was all gone.

This late evening, he returned home in desperate need for food, sanctuary and comfort. Struck with immediate fear and dread, he spotted the pile of letters on his front door mat. The vision of the radiant magnolia had been replaced by city traffic.

Slapping down his keys, he raced back and grabbed them off the floor. The man opened each letter carefully, with a tinge of foolish hope for good news. But why would there be?

The bank statement was lurking in the pile. He would get to it eventually. Scanning through the transactions, he immediately broke a sweat at the sight.

He was picturing them now, all sat in an office laughing, congratulating and toasting the amounts being creamed off people’s accounts. He recalled a conversation to live within his means, he recalled the lines of glass bottles chinking down at the checkout conveyor and how everyone stopped at that precise moment to judge.

The little red warning signals sent by the universe had been routinely ignored.

After the first page, the entire statement was a list of unpaid accounts and a sizeable fine for the privilege. “This is not happening”, he thought. It was payday, and now there was nothing left.

It felt like the beginning of the end and he had become blind to any notion of escape. He would forever be in debt. An unpaid parking penalty had escalated into a monstrous fine, the loan repayments, the credit cards had completely taken over his conscious mind. But at least he still had a job, and soon no means purchasing fuel.

The reality gripped like a constricting snake. He had to fight back. He needed to sink his teeth deep into its flesh for it to loosen its grip. Where was the courage? He went on in a daze for a while, continuing to buy food, drink and smoke until he handed over his last coin.

There was a moment of clarity. The wisdom from his brother rang clear and true. It was time to tear down the facade and face the things he feared the most.

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