Alfred had always strived to be the best he could possibly be and it twisted his heart every single day of his life.
He had always wanted to do the best he could do, to run faster, think quicker and accomplish more.
Unfortunately he was never satisfied, he never seemed to arrive at a destination and was unable to look back on what he had done.
He felt that life was a race and he needed to be in front, to run faster, and to be a winner.
He woke up every day, without the need for an alarm and was showered and shaved almost before he had finished his breakfast.
He took vitamins, lots of vitamins, to keep his energy levels up , avoided fats and sugars and made sure he had plenty of proteins.
He lived alone because living with someone else would just mess up his routines and he needed his routines.
His routines gave him structure and helped him know where he was in his day.
One of his routines was tying his shoelaces.
He would always tie them exactly four times, crossing the right shoelace over the left shoelace, slipping it under and making a neat bow. Then he undid the knot , straightened the laces and did exactly the same, this time with the left shoelace over the right shoelace. Then he repeated both a second time. He knew each time took 35 seconds so allowing a 5 second pause between each took him exactly 160 seconds. He’d always check on his timepiece and if, for some reason, he took longer than 160 seconds, he would just start all over again.
Sometimes he timed it to less than 160 seconds, but he knew this wasn’t right, so he just went back to the routine until it was just right.
He knew when he had finished that it would be time to go out for his morning walk.
But before that, he had to make sure there were no stray hairs on his jacket and not a smidgen of dust on his shiny black shoes.
Sometimes his morning run was in the afternoon but it didn’t matter.
He knew when it came, that it was the right time.
When he had finished all his morning routines, had checked and double checked every sequence, then he could leave the house and walk to the paddock for his treat.
First, of course, there were a few essential tasks to accomplish. One of these was to extract the front door key from the tin box at the back of the third drawer, under the white folded handkerchief exactly two centimetres from the left corner.
He would take the handkerchief and place it on the hall table, aligning the stripes on the handkerchief with the grain of the wood.
Then he would open the tin and take the key in his left hand, before putting the tin back in exactly the same place in the corner of the drawer, and cover it with the handkerchief making absolutely sure there were no creases.
Then he would close the drawer: but not quickly, otherwise it wouldn’t make that reassuring creaking sound as it closed.
Finally, he would open the front door and check the sky for clouds because if there were clouds it could rain and then he would need his neatly folded umbrella. Even if the sky was blue the clouds were probably hiding somewhere so he would take the umbrella anyway. It was better to have a routine. Something reassuring, and it made sure that he didn’t have to worry about getting wet because that would disrupt his well ordered day.
He didn’t smell the air or feel the warmth of the sun against his face as he left the house. He was too busy making sure he’d locked the door properly but if he followed the door routine properly, after three attempts, he was almost sure that the door was well and truly locked fast.
Outside, he counted his steps towards the paddock, past the rusting cars. He had never even wondered why those cars were there, he just concentrated to make sure the count was exact towards his precious prize. He knew that it would be exactly 742 steps. He made sure that it was, even if he had to repeat it a few times.
When he finally reached Ned, the farmers brown pony, he reached out and placed his arms around Ned’s neck, feeling the warmth of his mane as the horse softly nuzzled his shoulder.
Then he would breath in slowly, gradually losing himself, his routines, and all his worries, as his muscles relaxed bit by bit until he was almost suspended from the gracious beast.
He allowed himself a slight smile and softly closed his eyes, lost in that special moment which somehow made all the rest worthwhile.
It was always the best moment of the day and he was grateful to Dr Redcar for showing him this daily vacation from all his routines.
Dr Redcar had promised him that this was just the beginning.
Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers is proposed by Priceless Joy.
This is a flash fiction challenge (stories in 100-175 words or less) and each story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Therefore, no serial (continuation) stories. They become too complicated for our readers. This weeks prompt is © Phylor 2014. Thanks Phylor!
I normally stay within the word limit but as this is day two of my #my500word 31 day challenge, I’ve shamelessly used the prompt and the challenge to provide a longer story. This one clocks in at 849 words. Sorry! I promise to go back to respecting the rules of the challenge next week!