KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 1: Fall 2014
Micro-Fiction: 369 words

The Steps

by Richard Holinger

Melrose walked down the steps. Hundreds of them. Maybe thousands. Perhaps, but not likely, millions. He never thought or cared to count. He just knew there were a lot. Cement, wooden, marble, tiled, even plastic. Styrofoam. Cardboard, if you can believe it (believe it!). They seemed endless, both in count and variety. It was one of those rare experiences in which everything was the same while simultaneously everything was different. “Like life,” Melrose mused, taking one step at a time, just as he had always lived, one day at a time. No rush, but no flagging, either. “Keep going,” was his motto, no matter how many more steps to go. Even with no light at the end of the staircase—or whatever moniker one could give to such a hyperbole—he aspired to reach its final step, the place where he would level off.

Melrose didn’t care about the scenery on either side of the steps. Right or left, what did it matter? The stairs held his interest, held him spellbound. Held him stair-bound, if you will. See? Melrose could joke about his situation, infuse it with irony, even self-deprecation.

“Going somewhere?” someone might ask.

“Going downstairs,” he might answer.

Or, “Going down.”

Or, “Stepping down.”

Or, “Having a stair-down.”

Or, “That’s one small step down for man, one giant leap down for mankind.”

In other words, going down those steps brought him to himself. Nothing else mattered, nothing else distracted him. He was not in his element; he was the element. The stairs and Melrose could not be separated. Someone seeing him go down the steps could not tell where Melrose ended and the stairs began. He was that into them. They were that into him.

Then, all of a sudden, Melrose reached the bottom stair, the last step. The foot’s final fall.

He practically fell, so unused as he was to put one foot in front of the other instead of dropping it down.

“Oh, well,” he sighed, and dropping to his hands and knees so he wouldn’t fall and hurt himself, Melrose crawled to the closest elevator and rode it up to where he knew he could make a new start.

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