The young man swept down the sterile halls of the State Capitol Building; his face was still flush and his eyes were brimming with tears from the tongue lashing he got from his boss. He knew that his political career was over. There was no coming back from being fired by the nicest member of the State Legislator. He had devoted the last ten years of his life to get this kind of job and in one fell swoop he had lost it all because he was unable to ask for help. His self-pity knew no bounds.
He took the back stairway as to avoid the embarrassment of having to see any of his now former colleagues. He reached the basement of the building and sullenly walked out of the door. His mind was racing as he took an inventory of every mistake he had ever made in his life, convinced that each one was worse than the other and that he would never be able to recover from the latest one.
“The only thing to do,” he thought to himself, “is to pick up and move…again.”
Jack walked out of the basement onto Capitol Street and made his way to the garage where all state employees kept their cars, a couple of blocks away. All he wanted to do was get home and start packing. He wasn’t sure where he would end up, but he needed a fresh start.
“Back in college people thought that I looked like the Unibomber. Maybe I’ll go to Montana.” The idea was preposterous and yet it excited him. He had lived in Sacramento for the past four years. It was longer than he had lived in any one place since he graduated college and he needed a fresh start.
“Montana it is.”
Jack drove back to his humble apartment in East Sacramento, close to Sacramento City College. He unlocked the gate outside of the complex and slowly made his way up the stairs to the front of his building.
He looked up to the top of the building and then turned around to face the street with a great sigh. How could he have let things turn out this way? He lost his job and probably all of his friends; no one would forgive him his indiscretion this time…tears began to well up in his eyes again as he felt the weight of the world on his broad shoulders.
He turned back to the front of his apartment and got out the keys to the front door. Making his way in he veered off to the left and walked up two flights of stairs to the third floor. He walked out of the stairwell and down the hall to the very last door on the right. “I always seem to be the last one,” he thought as his pity grew even greater.
He pushed the key into the lock and turned it to the right. The door opened with ease. With a pitiful sigh he made his way in and looked around. The place wreaked of rotting food (the sink was full), and there were pizza and half-eaten Chinese food boxes in various states of fungal growth littered the living room, kitchen and bedroom. The laundry was half clean and half dirty, although he wasn’t sure which half was which. Both piles had made their way to the kitchen table.
“Perhaps I should clean before I go.”
And with that, Jack went to work imagining that with each inch of his apartment he cleaned he was taking back a piece of his life and turning a new leaf…the perfect metaphor that he needed to convince himself that he could start his life over in Montana.