The path beneath him was black and warm. His beaten and faded sport-shoe disintegrating around his feet, he continued beyond what he perceived to be his tolerance. His clothing comfortable, clean denim, he enjoyed the sensation of recently washed garments, felt untainted and faultless. An unfortunate circumstance returned his stain regularly and as a result he developed a habit of cleaning his clothing frequently, more often than he was able to afford. He had walked so many kilometers that his count was lost. He retained some of the money that had taken him away from that circumstance, and each kilometer buried the event more deeply into the abyss of his psyche as long as he continued moving. He had almost returned to what he called “normality”, but much time would be required in order to submerge that memory amply, and the blot returned regularly. He considered himself a fair man, not necessarily good, certainly not a saint, but a decent man who refrained from harming others to the extent that they refrained from harming him. A man who was generous to friends and associates, he habitually teased others, but they realized that he meant nothing offensive, wished harm to no-one. Sometimes he thought they took things too seriously and at times he realized that he had taken circumstances less seriously than they merited.
“No harm,” he thought.
The recently paved ground comforted his wearied soles and he continued to walk along the asphalt black of path, though trees surrounded him. Meandering about and unaware of his long-range surroundings, he felt assured and at home on the warm, odoriferous pathway. He wanted to refrain from thinking about what surrounded him, that circumstance he wished to subdue – a kind of envelopment of disaster, this ruin surrounded him, and he felt its vigor. He fled from it, and he was successful to a certain extent, what memory-loss accomplishes for a vitality moved wrong. And it was movement in the expression of momentum that hurried him now, occasionally erasing him so that he might begin anew. A large habiliment surrounded him as he moved himself, pushed as it were, from his past into uncertainty. His forward momentum blocked occasionally, he stumbled on moments of the past that lingered in his future.
All the more reason to move quickly.
He was possessed of an average step, moving not quickly, not slowly but a measured gait became him. Average in height, he carried with him no slight frame and yet no great one. He had been watching a group of workers as they paved the road before him, but now the warm sensation beneath him evaporated and rough, grated grooves – much colder and less comforting – emerged beneath his feet; the workers had not yet paved the onward patch of road, but they had grated the old surface in order that they lay down the new one, as if to cut the surface of the past in order to proceed into the future.
Hungry, he passed a gas station with a restaurant inside; decided to enter, though risk accompanied him there. He might be able to wash his jeans and shirt there as well, the real habit remaining stained. He sat alongside a series of front windows, waited for the waitress. The establishment was commonly small and dirty, the servants typically slow. He remained a long while alone at his table before anyone arrived, and because he was unoccupied, his thoughts began to return to him in the form of jagged memories. He arose and followed himself to the bathroom where he continued to move in order to avoid what the past threw into him, it pressing relentlessly onto him. Great effort expended, he was successful in exceeding it in the immediate, but when he returned to the table where the servant was supposed to tend his needs, he found no pleasant waitress adorned with a smile, and so he sat down once again, always amazed at the rapidity with which the thoughts – who were such vile entities – returned him to destitution. He was a generous man, one who cared for Others, so long as they refrained from harming him. Still, every thought about those days returned at once those who did not return complete. No. They did not reveal themselves slowly in order that he might evaluate them by cutting them to pieces, so that he might accept them gradually. Instead, thoughts sliced him into pieces when the impressions emerged before the servant-waitress came to rescue him. He might have begun eating, and since he might have become drowsy, sleep might have assisted him and then he might have packed his meager belongings, continued to move without a returned thought. No.