George’s chain had grown over the years. What started as a string of heavy steel links had become a pile of twisted metal so heavy he could barely carry it, let alone stand up straight. As a younger lad he was only responsible for two goldfish, a small cat, and his on-again-off-again high-school girlfriend. Then he bought his first car, so another link was added. George got into some trouble because of that car, so he became responsible for 200 hours of community service, which meant five more links in the chain.
Countless links comprised the heap of rusted pig iron at his feet; everything he had been, or was currently responsible for: ex-girlfriends, the DVR, estranged colleagues, his own future, Darla’s wellbeing, all the kids, work, the house, both cars, the lawn, his friends, his health—
George stared at the metallic mountain that took up the entire linen closet and closed the door. Every morning he’d wrestled to wear those chains and shoulder his responsibilities like a responsible man would responsibly do. It had ruined both knees, and injured his back. Even without the chain, George couldn’t stand up straight. So he walked down the hall, took his coffee off the counter, and locked the door behind him. He left his keys in the lock, he wouldn’t be coming back here once they saw him outside without his chain.