The coffee sat.
Steam rose from its surface, he could still smell it where he lay on the floor.
He was numb, except for a terrible tightness in his chest. Also he was paralyzed.
At least, this is what he had heard being paralyzed was like. Nothing on his body was listening to his commands to move. It felt like being wrapped up in a tight moth’s cocoon, somewhat comforting but a bit tough to breathe.
Tough to breathe, that brought him back to the present. What happened? One minute he was making coffee. Rinsing out a cup, pouring it…
The next there was this flash of white light inside his head and he was staring up at the ceiling from the vantage point of floor tile.
At least he set the coffee cup down before he collapsed. In a moment he would make himself get up and sit down in a chair to enjoy it before it got cold.
In a moment. He just needed to rest here for a bit and collect his thoughts.
What happened? Is this what a stroke is like? He wished he had spent a little more time reading up on these things. Calling 911 was out of the question, his phone was in the other room connected to the charger. He doubted he could make his fingers wrap around it were it on the floor next to him. Funny, it was feeling like his whole body was falling asleep, as a limb cut off from circulation goes cold and unresponsive. Now he smelled urine, his own obviously. Was this bad he wondered. The kitchen light was beginning to throb in time with his heartbeat, slowing.
Saw himself as a little boy eating breakfast at the table, reading the contest on the cereal box while kicking his feet on the chair legs. Kick. Kick. Kick.
He felt embarrassed that his mother would come in and find him on the floor; a grown man, soiled and cold. He waited for the sound of her slippers padding into the room…
Wait- she was dead many years, ever since the car accident. What time was it? He couldn’t see the clock although he could hear it ticking on the wall. Tick. Tick. Tick.
The light through the blinds was brighter, maybe midday now. That would mean he’s been laying here on the floor at least two hours, maybe three. He heard cars on the street. A woman talking, perhaps on her phone. So many people, so nearby.
He wasn’t due into work until tomorrow. He was finishing a project that he brought home for the weekend, no need to go in on a Monday just to gather his notes and type it all up. He told the boss that he’d have it for him first thing Tuesday morning. If he didn’t show up they would assume he hadn’t finished and would be working at home another day. Maybe a phone call that would go straight to voice mail. Nobody would be alarmed at first. There would be annoyance. Then concern. What happened? Where is he? Likely there wouldn’t be anyone knocking on his door until the weekend. Knock. Knock. Knock.
So thirsty. He couldn’t even make himself swallow, much less move toward the cup sitting placidly on the table. He was unaware of it but he was drooling a small puddle on the floor under his head.
He sighed a small sigh. It was the last thing he did.
The coffee grew cold.