bacon

He ran up hill to the smell of bacon.  Mist swirled off a passing car and he ducked under the cloud as if hitting it might have stopped his progress.  The call of breakfast hurried his pace but did nothing to quell the rumbling response in his stomach.  His feet slapped against the pavement and beat out a cadence, a rhythm, that heralded the coming dawn and the day that lurked beyond.  It was a song he knew well, a song he’d helped create every morning for nearly a year.  And what a year it had been.

New car.  New house.  New wife.  The smell of bacon was even coming from his kitchen.  He couldn’t believe how lucky he had been recently, though he didn’t even really believe in luck.  He worked hard for the changes he made in his life.  Just as he had started running miles every morning before work, he had made positive decisions and choices for the rest of his life as well.  Those choices had led, one by one, to the new car, the new house, the new girlfriend who quickly turned into the new wife.  They were all tied together and all resulting from him choosing to live healthier, to be happier, to demand more of himself.

That didn’t mean that all days started with bacon, that all days were perfect from start to finish.  All that “new” in his life required maintenance to keep them nice just as choosing to be happy and healthy required maintenance too.  Waking up early to go for his run, to set the tone for his days, wasn’t always easy but he did it anyway.  It was the right thing to do,  not the easy thing to do.  He regretted that it had taken him so long to realize the importance of that but was choosing not to let that regret shape his current outlook.  He wasn’t going to dwell on the past.  Each new day was a new chance for improvement.

He ran up the hill to the smell of bacon and looked forward to the adventures of the coming day while the song of his new life echoed up and down the quiet morning street.

safe 2

This is a follow-up to “safe” and was written because Trent asked for more.  I don’t know if this will be the end of it or if I will continue to come back to this character.  We’ll just have to, as always, see where the words take us.

……………………………

She woke to the scratch of the sun on her hand, absentmindedly trying to brush it away with no success.  Her eyes cracked against the glare, to glare at the offending stray beam of light splashed across her flesh.  Scowling she withdrew her hand and curled away from the day but sleep would not come back to her and a few minutes later she sat up and took stock of her surroundings.

It was later than she had expected, which is why the sun had found her in the alcove of the now defunct store.  Not unlike the carts that used to be returned on a nightly basis, she found her way there most evenings to find her rest.  The world, people and cars, bustled nearby, visiting the shops that were still open in this dying strip mall.  Without the flagship, the others would close eventually unless a new grocer came in to fill the vacancies.  She had seen it go both ways before.

Her pack was where she’d left it.  She was grateful for that but had learned how to get by without her few possessions.  Her current pack, a purple and ragged affair, was not her first and would not be her last.  Things had a way of walking off in the middle of the night.  That truth was part of living on the streets.

Fishing a cigarette from her dwindling pack, she struck a match and pulled in the smoke, filling her lungs with warmth, before releasing it to the wind.  She watched the smoke disappear before taking another drag.  It was a nicotine breakfast kind of day again.  Her stomach hardly argued with her much anymore and this morning was no exception.  She had some coins rattling around in a pocket.  She’d see if she could find them a few more companions and maybe get some lunch in a bit, or maybe get a new pack.  Depending on how the rest of the morning went that could be a tough call.

Stretching, she crushed the filter of her now spent cigarette between finger and thumb, and then deposited the butt in the small pile of trash she’d move to a can when she walked away.  She liked to keep her space clean.  She didn’t see any sense in allowing her small nightly alcove to become cluttered with trash, especially when there was a can only a few feet away and she’d pass it on her way to the park.  Shouldering her pack, her muscles groaned her onto her feet, and she took a few timid steps until she found the strength and balance to stride onward.  Lunch seemed like it might need to win out over smokes.  Then again, the day was still young and almost anything could happen before she’d have the coins to get either.

apart

He ran his hands along the fabric of their existence, caressing the invisible strings that connected all things and sending reverberating melodies strumming before him.  He smiled, sad and euphoric.  The song was beautiful, the song of life, of connectivity, but he would never get to share it with anyone else.  Long had he traveled the world looking for someone like him, someone who could see the threads of life, the connections and interdependencies, and had never met anyone who could see as he did.  The magic of who he was did little to quell the loneliness.

He stood apart, disconnected from the grid.  He could walk through it, manipulate it, and, with a brush of his hand, send a thousand songs cascading forward, but he was not a part of it.  In all his wandering, he was the only living thing he had come across that was not intertwined with the rest of the grid.

When he had been young, he had tried to tell his parents and friends about what he was seeing.  They all just said he had a vivid imagination.  When he got older he considered trying to bring it up again but had grown less naïve in the intervening years and was loathe to risk being labelled as something he was not or being drugged into conformity.  As lonely as it was to be the only thing set apart from the rest of the world, he didn’t want to give that up, didn’t want to lose his unique view.  Not to say that the world wasn’t beautiful for everyone else as well but getting to see how all things were joined and hearing the music that came with those connections must, absolutely must, enhance the experience of that beauty.

sticky

The web clung to his shoe, as only webs can, sticky and stringing out in tendrils.  He, of course, hadn’t meant to walk through it but he was terrible about such things.  With his mind always on other things, he tended to walk into things and trip over his feet, even when he was looking down at them.  His thoughts were rarely with his eyes.  Not that he was always working on world saving problems, his ambitions were not that lofty.  His mind simply never found it easy to be in the present, the here, the now.

The web presented an obstacle to that, though.  He hated spiders.  And removing the web would be a challenge.  He couldn’t brush it away with his hand.  The web would just transfer over.  He could try to scuff his shoe against a curb or wall but that might do nothing more than mar the polish.  He had no tissue or other paper handy he could sacrifice to the cause.  So, the tendrils continued to drag and stretch out behind each of his steps and his thoughts became so stuck on the matter that he missed the door opening in front of him until he had crashed into it.

After picking himself up, dusting himself off, accepting the apology of the person who opened the door – who wasn’t at fault but apologized anyway – he was pleased to note that the web had come free in the commotion.  The last of it drifted in creeps and crawls along the sidewalk until he caught on a grate and waved menacing taunts in the breeze.  Glad to be rid of the web, he continued on with his journey and his thoughts soon returned to other matters, some more pressing than others.

All things considered, a walk with only two unwanted bumps wasn’t bad.  He had suffered far worse in shorter distances.  He seemed to always run into a few things.  He had no intentions of being more mindful, though.  That wasn’t his way and he was too old to want to change.

the moon

Wisps of fog spread beneath the slivered moon and the light tower winked and blinked as it swept its circles. He welcomed the sight, a sign of familiarity, of routine, in a dark morning that had been anything but. Nothing had gone according to plan since he’d woken, hours before the sun was even considering making an entrance. That daily occasion was still far off. The winks, the blinks, the fog, the moon all seemed to laugh at his futile attempts to find balance. He’d laugh too, if he had a voice.

He could still remember the taste of words but could not remember the sound of his own voice. It was one more odd thing about him in a list that grew daily. He had kept a list, pen on paper, for a bit but when he realized he was going to need more paper to keep it going he had abandoned the endeavor and had begun to accept the truth. He no longer minded being weird, eccentric, outside the norm. It was routine he still craved. And it was routine that was failing him. He’d blame the slivered moon but that wouldn’t solve anything, and it really wasn’t the moon’s fault.

In all likelihood, the disturbances in his morning were his own fault. All the odd things that happened around him usually could be tracked back to being a result of his quirks. He couldn’t easily see the direct connection that morning but that didn’t mean it wasn’t there. One time he traced a day gone wrong back to a toenail he had failed to pick off the ground and place in the trash where it belonged. That one bit of carelessness had caused a whole day to go sideways. Afterwards he had researched having his nails permanently removed, to avoid such a disaster in the future, but the procedure was prohibitively expensive and no reputable doctors would perform it anyway.

The fog thinned further and the tower faded in the distance behind him, leaving only the moon to shine down on his progress. He liked the moon. Always had. It represented something magical, even if that sorcery was based in science. Its influence on the world was something he appreciated, longed for at times. He didn’t want the attention it received but he wouldn’t mind its importance. His jealousy of the moon was another of his oddities he had made peace with.

The dark sky cracked in a thousand tendrils of light reaching away from the east and he smiled for the first time all morning. Finally the sun was rising and perhaps that could turn his day around.