He sat in his fathers car and the words wouldn’t come. He sat there in the car that he could never afford and he thought about the life he was leading and where it was leading. He played with ideas about leaving the town. The idea of staying made him feel both sick and alone. Yet he already was sick. He was already alone. After a million disappointments he knew it was naive to believe that anywhere else would be different. But he thought that a different landscape; different face, would make the difference. Without worrying about what those who knew him wanted or expected.
Are you still painting?
So, where you working these days?
Living the dream yet?
Are you coming over Christmas day?
Without these distractions, he thought maybe he’d have a chance. Might be able to make a life that was, at the very least, tolerable.
He felt the back of his neck and winced with pain. There were knots within knots. Ancient knots. Scrunched up muscle caused by this, that and the other. And he knew that there would always be this, that and the other. But in his mind there was, if not a better place, somewhere he could lay down his head and know that, if it were going to be his last night of life, he could die with dignity.
A bus pulled up outside in the street. He heard the brakes screeching. Then he picked his nose with his little finger and wondered how to finish.