I am participating in the Dude Write Starting Lineup this week where you can find some excellent posts by bloggers who happen to be dudes.
His scotch neat in one hand he steps onto the balcony for a smoke. Feeling for his matches, his hand brushing the coarse lining of his favorite overcoat, he’s hard pressed to remember a night as cold and windy as this. After three tries, a lull of wind, nicotine unearths him. With long calming drags he looks out over the property making out what he can in the dark, green tops of trees form into one another creating a vast stretch of line reaching out until they disappear, becoming one with the end of visible nighttime. He flicks his ending, watching as it falls back and forth never knowing which way the wind will carry it. The uncertain red ember reaches the bottom and dies out. A piano chord welcomes him back inside.
Couples dance slow and in step to a chilly jazz number. Wives resting their heads on husbands’ shoulders, eyes closed, he thinks of their children. Alone in beds while nannies steal beers from well stocked refrigerators. He was one of those children. Left alone for society gatherings, social calls, and galas. The division still sits uneasy within him. At first he acted out his aggressions screaming and disorderly until his parents late arrival back home. Later in life he took support in his time alone. At too early in age he realized that this is it: everyone leaves you, coming back, only to leave you again. A lonely game of distrust and abandonment played out his life.
Lost in one of the many hallways he follows the sound of knocking that only children can make. His hand dragging along the wall, feeling the wallpaper, as children do when running. Chasing a sound that stops at a door. Pressing ear to the keyhole, as if a secret word would be shared for his entrance into their world. All sound suddenly stops. They know. A child’s intuition is a wonderful thing.
Morning now, waiting for his taxi he takes another smoke, same balcony, the view familiar, yet much brighter. He can see it all now from where he stands. A path between the trees traced out forever. It’s filled with joyous laughter and the same knocking only children can make. He flicks his end, watching as it falls back and forth, landing at the running feet of a world he will never get back.