Here is another short one. This one houses a character I’ve been wanting to bring into existence. I know what I want his life to look like but cannot figure how he should come into being. It’s difficult to create a character that cannot hold a thought.
If it ever makes it to book form, here is your introduction to him.
Rain is just such a purifying, beautiful occurrence, thought an easy on the eye woman holding an easy on the eye umbrella over her dry head, oh how nature hugs you with its love and leaves everything feeling fresh and new. The man sitting atop a box to her left she pretended to hardly notice would have thought similarly were it not for his ever rebelling mind. In and out like a child flicking a light on and off; a goldfish in a bowl ever entertained with each new direction it turns. For a moment, though, a similar thought flashes behind his eyes in sputtering TV form, his lips flicker a rain soaked smile.
Most passing by divert their attention elsewhere, anywhere else. Its impolite to stare at the poor soul, they think to themselves. The few who cannot override their inconsiderate urges misinterpret the poor man’s shuttering smile for senility or intentions of a sexual nature. They double their pace, as do those more polite.
The poor man on the box is granted another moment of clarity. His lips quiet and soften. No longer happy, yet his heart is warmed. They mean well, he thinks while he can. They are decent people. Its not their fault.
The poor man’s thoughts trail off like a siren disappearing into the wind and no one around to hear it before, after or since. He tastes metal in his mouth. Briefly he hopes its something he ate last night, or perhaps something foreign in the rain dripping down his nose leaking onto his tongue and not another tooth coming loose. Before he musters the courage to investigate, he forgets about the flavor and his rotting tooth. Nothing replaces his attention, but something does steal all of this attention. The same something that stole his attention as long as he could remember.
The rain continues coming down, lightly but definitely raining. It sucks what little warmth he collects cuddled in the garbage around him and his box, his home. Shivering is the only constant reminder of his environment, the only stability, the only constant finger poking at his back taunting him to remember his plight, to remember his past or present. When he can, he wishes it was not. When his mind allows it, he prays for something else, any other feeling than cold.
No one stops to assist him. Either they feel its not their place and if he needed it he would ask or they fear he will attack them, ask them for money. In the distance somewhere a dog barks. That bark shoots a glimmer of a thought, something he tried to see from the wrong end of a long and dark tunnel. Barking reverberated through that tunnel, through his head. He started to cry but couldn’t remember why; then he forgot he was crying altogether.
He does not know it, but he too is grateful for the rain. How it hugs him with his love, how it hides his tears and incontinence from passersby, how it hides the human part of him that passersby would not be able to ignore.