Again, I find myself walking down that particular stretch of pavement. It leads vaguely towards the centre of town. A place I haven’t been for many years. Not if I can help it in any case. Too many dangers. Too many triggers. Out here, the air is somewhat fresher. I tell myself that’s the reason. I check the clock on my mobile again but it is still far too early. A dog barks three times. Its owner no doubt still asleep. As are most people out here. Sleeping, dreaming. A man appears from a doorway.
Let me help you he says.
I back off, irritated, telling him I don’t need any help. He stops, respectfully. Smiling very slightly with the corners of his mouth.
I am just out for a walk, enjoying the morning air, I say.
He sniffs the air suspiciously, as if detecting a bad odour. I shuffle awkwardly, indicating the long pavement ahead with a nod. He just smiles his tired smile again, a slight frown furrowing his brow at the same time.
I don’t need any assistance, I repeat.
The man moves to one side. The pavement stretches out into the distance and I find myself sniffing at the bad smelling air. I long to be back in the city. It has been a long time. Too long really, when I think about it. All the circumstances in between. Piled up on top of each other like disused garden furniture in winter. And what is life other than a series of circumstances, one after the other, in any case? The dog again barks three times. His frown has gone now as he towers over me.
If we can’t help each other what then, the man says, what then.
Image credit: Ivars