The Enemy of the Good (eideteker) wrote,
The Enemy of the Good

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The Ωmegaman

The night lays heavy on him like a blanket, but absent any warmth. His hands are shoved deep into his pockets to insure against either the cold without or the fire within. He has no clear destination in mind. To the contrary, he has something in mind which he is fleeing; something his mind keeps hidden from himself ostensibly for his own protection. These long, nocturnal walks are therapeutic, he tells himself. A way to dissipate the nervous energy that kept him from sleep almost nightly. "I go to sleep... but sleep it won't come to me." Or so wrote the man.

Fuck. It is cold. It's autumn now, isn't it? And temperatures at night fall from the 70s or 80s into the 40s. And here I am, he thinks, wearing a suit handed down from my corpulent uncle, looking for all the world like a jacked-up David Byrne. He is blinded momentarily by oncoming headlights, and he gingerly pads onto the dewy grass and mud alongside the curbless shoulder. Someone passes him on a two-wheeled rig, disappearing into the night "like a ghost rider". He's alone again, but less so. I'm not the only one up; battling who knows what. He wonders for a moment if the rider's speed helps him elude his problems, but then it occurs to him that perhaps the rider's problems are just pursuing him that much more persistently.

What time is it? He'd left the house in a hurry, forsaking his watch. The moon has set; in a few hours he'll be able to tell time by the sun. But for now he hovers in this blankness, and it draws tentatively close around him like a hug of pure uncertainty. He feels once more like the last man on Earth. But in this scenario, there is no corresponding woman with whom to repopulate the species. There is not even one for the huddling of shared warmth. If he is firm on one thing, it's that his unexpressed need is not sexual. Standing as he is now at the crest of the bridge spanning the mouth of the lake, and staring down into the twinkling lights of the sleeping city below, he is aware not of his loneliness but of his lonesomeness. His mother always makes a point of it to remind him how unique he is, but she never sees what a curse that is to him. He wonders what would happen were he to dive headfirst into the cold lake below, piercing the envelope not merely of the water's surface, but of reality. Would he surface in another world, free to start again, disentangled from the hassles currently plaguing him here? He moves towards the side to search for the reflections of stars.

And then he sees her. She moves languidly along the railing of the bridge, silhouetted in the city lights. He stares at her, smirking, admiring her grace and poise in what for him would be a precarious position. And almost as if to make sure he's watching her, she turns to make eye contact with him. He can see her eyes flash momentarily in the dim night light surrounding them. She looks away, disinterested, but his smirk cracks wider into a smile. He debates approaching her, but decides against it, given her position. Who knows what she might do up there? His hand, unconsciously extended with an intent to touch her, retracts and instead finds the familiarity of his own hair to run through. He's smiling because something one of his friends said once has come back to him, poignantly. "You are unique and special... just like everyone else." An interesting twist on his mother's irritating refrain, it unkinks something inside him at this particular moment. And suddenly he is so not alone. Even though she was cold to him, he realizes that other people are out there in the night somewhere, suffering just as he is. Somehow, that makes things... not better, just more tolerable. It's no magic cure, but it's enough to get him home.

As he turns to walk back, he entertains the fantasy that she might decide to follow him. Maybe she's curious as to what's brought him out here at this hour. Maybe... but he resists the urge to look over his shoulder to check. It's very likely they'll cross paths again, on another sleepless night. And he can't bring her home, even if she wants to come. Even if she doesn't belong to someone else. His building has a very strict "NO PETS" policy.
Tags: story time, writing

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