Tenderfoot

Lewis Gets a Call

Author

Susan Taylor Suchy is an author and a researcher currently pursuing a PhD at UWA. ‘Lewis Gets a Call’ is part of an experiment in interpretation and representation of dream for a new book.

Her most recent publication, The Dust Collectors (by Umbrellahem & Taylor and published by Strange House Press), is now available at the Coop bookstore.

 

by Susan Taylor Suchy

Lewis lives in an apartment, in an apartment complex.
This apartment is not particularly large, nor is it shabby; yet staying in this space is haunting him, for
     while there is enough money to pay the bills, he sees his situation as empty.

The apartment lacks the furniture of relationship, but Lewis craves the commitment of family. For   
     him, time in life is measured by intimate connection.

He determines he must make contact.

Lewis goes to the window and looks down upon the swimming pool in the courtyard below.
A sense of calm sweeps over him.
He knows he needs to take a break; he knows he needs to take time to acknowledge and understand   
     his feelings.

He must leave the apartment.
He will go downstairs and dive into the pool; but he hesitates.
The pool is surrounded by a fence, and he sees two men inside the pool area.
The fence appears insurmountable, the men threatening.

The clock chimes eleven, late morning, almost high noon.
Lewis decides he must go to the pool, no matter the obstacles.
He gathers what he needs and goes out the door.
On the elevator, he presses the button to go down, but something goes wrong.
The lift won’t let him off.
He feels his temperature rising; he struggles not to panic.
This is my life, and I am stuck, he is thinking when,
without warning, the door of the elevator slides open.

In the pool area, a young woman needs help; her son is in trouble.
Lewis is out the door, across the lobby, and through a gate in the fence.
He dives into the pool and brings the boy a life jacket.
The young woman smiles; Lewis smiles.

Lewis goes back to the elevator; for there, he realizes, he can see anyone who might be going to the
     pool, anyone who might need help.

As he rides the elevator and watches people, he notices that everyone else is looking out for what is
     important to them.

Lewis can accept this, but he can not accept when
     Dick rushes in, almost knocking him over.

     Asshole, Lewis is about to call him, but the aggressive man can do something Lewis can not do:
     Dick can get on and off the elevator with ease.


Another man boards the elevator, a photographer.
The photographer snaps a Polaroid picture of Dick and turns to wink at Lewis.
The photographer holds out the picture for Dick who nods in appreciation and smiles.
Lewis asks to look, and the photographer passes the picture.
Lewis sees a forest, and the trees. Dick is leaning against a tree in the forest.

Dick is not just smiling about being in this place. There is something else going on, and Lewis
     realizes how the illusion works: ‘I see. You were standing in front of a poster with a forest image

     in it, and the photographer had an eye to see you in the forest instead of the elevator, and so
     captures you there in the photo. Life is all about how you see things, where you position the

     camera, and what you create. Even if you are in the elevator, in the ups and downs, life can be
     simple.’


Finally, Lewis can get off the elevator.
He goes to the street and gets on a bus, following a crowd.
He knows that this part of the journey is without originality, this struggle to get up the hill, to go
     somewhere, to be something; yet he is near to his destination, nearer than ever. Lewis feels panic

     and fear again.

He wants to be back by the pool. He is moving too far from the apartment complex, from the new
     meaning in his life.

He hears the chirp of a bird, a little bird calling him.
In his pocket, his phone is ringing.

He hears the call.