Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Long Walk.

A Long Walk.

Down on my luck, the troubled times had finally reached me. Last supper. The final meal for what would seem like an eternal future. At the corner liquor store, spending my last dollar, surprisingly, on something to eat. Hardly the type of place I would be finding myself when nearly a month ago I was dining in a four-star restaurant, beneath the sparkling chandelier while the beautiful people danced idly by. Yet here I find that my only meal is bag of chips and a fountain drink. Slinking out the door there’s a man whose grabbed a small amount of liquor and stuffed it into his shirt. I manage to walk towards the counter as the clerk yells out at the stranger that’s long gone into the night. I leave a buck fifty on the counter and nod a good night at the frustrated clerk. He sits back down and waves me on my way.

Out in the night, there’s really no one around. Occasional homeless stranger begging for change. A woman hurrying to the liquor store for that last minute gallon of milk for her children. I keep my head up or pay the consequences out here on the avenue. The sirens of speeding police cars sound in the four-lane street before me. Down the way I can see more squad cars at rest as the men of the law converse with the ladies of the night. No real point in hurrying back to the motel. I can’t afford the extra for television and my last few possessions were traded away at the pawn shop for cash. Lost everything. It wouldn’t be longer before I didn’t have a roof over my head.

Screaming. There’s no time to move. I’m hit. On the ground. A man stole the woman’s purse and was running until he collided with me. Down. His body isn’t moving around. I’ve spilled my drink and what’s left of supper. But the woman is still screaming. I think she wants her bag, so I get up and reach over to the still body next to me. Grab the purse. He’s not breathing. Odd. I roll him over. Stupid bastard. He stuck himself with a knife. Forget this I’m leaving. Get up, give the crying woman her bag and walk back to the only home I have left for the night.

“That’s was a brave thing you did young man,” a voice calls out from behind me in the darkness. I press on without a second notice. “Young man,” the voice persists, “Can you spare a moment?” I spin around wildly and shrug my shoulders. To my dismay, there’s no one there. “Young man,” the voice is in front of me, as the figure it belongs to, steps out of the shadows, “That was rather noble. Would you care for company?” I nod. The most peculiar looking woman stands before me. Her eyes are not quite red, but nonetheless a pinkish blush. Her long red hair has waves of gold that glisten in the small flecks of light cast from passing cars. Far from a young beauty, she was anything but an old hag. My circumstances rarely allow me amicable company, so reluctantly I agree.

Instantly she takes up my arm and we walk. I should be more frightened, but I’m not. She sees my resistance, and smiles. “It’s okay, young fellow. I’m just an old lady who wants some company for my walk home. You are in no danger, from me.” I return the smile. The night feels much brighter than usual and my distance to the motel is longer than usual. For once in a long time it felt remarkably odd to oblige someone other than myself. Lately all I had been doing was taking care of my own needs. Filling out forms, selling off pieces and slowly giving my life away.

We walk silently through the darkness and move through the even blacker shadows. Somehow I manage the courage to talk to this quite unusual stranger. “Sorry to ask this ma’am, but where are you headed?” I quickly bow my head like an impudent child. I’m afraid to look this woman in the eye as I have no real idea what she has in store for me.

“My child please, don’t be afraid of me.” She smiles and stops me. Looking me in the eye, she reaches up with her free hand she touches my cheek in the same comforting manner that my mother used to. I’m instantly at ease. “Now, I’m headed exactly where you are tonight. Actually, my stop is just a few steps from where you’re at. Alright?” I nod as she pushes us back into a walk. There seems to be a light around this woman that saturates the dark night. Despite her warmth and comfort I have my reservations about this woman.

“Now, I know you don’t have any money dear child, but you must have something of value with you…” She mentions just as I’ve started to think that truly I’d found the last honest person out here in the slums of the world. There’s no truly honest people left in the world. So I stop. Dead in my tracks and pull my arm back. The moment comes when we’re out here in the night alone and I’m confronting this complicated individual. Calmly the woman turns around to face me. “Look, young man, it is not my intention to cause you harm, but it’s as simple as this… I need something valuable from you.” I swallow and look to run. Before I can, her arm has locked hold of mine. We are at a stand still. Her voice is less peaceful and her grip tightens. “There are forces of good and evil in this world, I am neither. Unless you would like to trade me your life then I need something you hold dear. I can not take it from you.”

Desperately I try to break from her to no luck. Struggling like a mouse caught in a trap I stupidly writhe back and forth. It’s the cold hostile night with no sign of life to be found. No ally to run to. “Son,” she raises her voice and I react with stillness, “You need to decide. Please understand it is not my wish to see you suffer. But I need something… soon.” I can only think of one thing that I’ve held onto for dear life. The last material possession that ties me to my home, my parents, and the life that I’d traded for wealth. My pocket watch. It was an heirloom passed down from my grandfather. The watch was the one piece of my past that I hadn’t disposed of or replaced with a handy new gadget. This small trinket with very little value kept me grounded and reminded me of where I came from. Often I would just dream of a different life with just a glance. Truth be told it was the only thing I valued as much as my life.

Out of my pocket with one last glance I hand it over. Instantly the woman is pleased. She smiles grandly and reaches out to me. I accept her hand and we continue. It is my understanding that she means no real threat to me. If my one last worldly possession brings her such pleasure, then perhaps it should find no better home. “Young man, do not despair. Your time to shine will come once more. Sooner than you think.” She wraps her thin arms around me in a warm embrace. Upon release there are tears in her eyes, and a warm smile on her face. Like a mother sending her child out into the world, she rubs my hand and calmly lets go. “I must take my leave of you now, but I swear, your generosity will not go unrewarded. Goodnight, son.”

Into nothing the eerie figure disappears. Reassuring myself that I’m not seeing things I as I make my way back. I’m sure I would have just pawned the watch for another night at the motel. An alley cat has found an interest in my path, as I shuffle along the unpaved roadside. I look down at my new companion and wait. The reddish brown cat has decided that I need some affection and lovingly nestles itself at my feet. Sighing, I bend down and pick up my found feline friend. At least I’ll have company at the end of it all.

Reaching my home for the night, I expect nothing out of the ordinary. Empty room, cold bed, and broken television. As I settle in and kick off my boots, the cat sets up shop on the windowsill. Looking about the room there’s something quite different. At the corner of the room in the entry way hangs a newly pressed suit, and a shiny gold pocket watch attached at the hip. I make my way toward the unfamiliar suit. Inside the front pocket is a small bundle of cash. Attached to the hem of the jacket is small handwritten note, “Young man, your generosity will not go unrewarded.”

This is the Nov. 1st piece. I had to rewrite it a dozen times. I don't know why, it isn't much different from where I started. You know how sometimes one thing in your life goes terribly wrong so then everything else goes completely wrong too. Then you sort it all back out and there you are again. Well that's my best analogy for the writing/brick wall fiasco. I'm wanting to slow back down since the 16 last month really pressed my mind. Should I? I'm in a weird place with this... Gonna keep pressing forward despite my urge to slow down. Will try to get at least two up a week. This week there may be three. But I'm not promising. oh and that lovely other thing will be up next week. I'm excited. Anyhow, I hope this is appreciated. ENJOY. kisses. m.

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