Chapter 1

Sitting alone, the man ended his night, same as the night before.

He slowly transitioned the weight from his back; slouching on the couch, to his legs. Placed his feet firmly to the floor, groaned and rolled forward; standing and then pausing upright. Glancing to the scantly decorated living room; walls covered with pictures of different times. The man holds a fish, caught in Lake Erie; a prize of an annual trip taken with a now-lost friend. An award for charity through action from the Indianapolis City Council. A framed and faded black and white picture of his frowning parents, flanking a well-dressed version of him at age 7.

He had spent the night as he had so many before; alone, in a white under-shirt and with a bottle of Argentine Malbec. Books and old magazines sat in piles adjacent but, not one was opened. Creases visible on their backs, scars of times past; when reading took up so much of his time.

Outwardly content; no vicious cycles of mental instability to suffer through as he had in his youth. Diligence in remaining alone was his constant now. Consistency was his spouse.

Moving swiftly forward - faster than would seem possible, the man headed toward the stairs, routinely and blindly reached for the light switch and climbed the 12-steps to the second floor - steps creaking - his mind raced to how many times he'd told himself he'd fix that creak - how many times he'd told her, he would fix that creak.

Moving to the bedroom, the man paused once more and sighed. Sitting down on the bed, his back to the Eastern wall, he softly placed his head in his hands and held it, for what seemed like days. Sighing again and he fell willfully backward, head onto the pillow, perfectly placed. Bothering not to get under the sheet and worn quilt, the man willed himself to sleep and then fell.


'How've ya been?" a mail-carrying and professional-wrestling-obsessing neighbor asked as the man graced through the door-way onto his front porch, the sun peering just under the overhang of the porch; blinding his quick gaze.

Turning first, glancing toward the mailbox - half-open, the hinges worn from years of opening and closing and Indiana winters. Locking the door, traversing and then glancing toward the mail-man neighbor, the man gave a nod and a smile.

Both, outwardly satisfied with the interaction, transitioned back to their self-conscious and departed each others awareness. The man, however, never left himself. He had sealed off the majority of his once-hearty interactive nature. After the crash, no one asked why he said nothing.

As quick as always, the man did not lumber down the six steps to the street, out of the apartment property, circled with wrought-iron fence juxtaposed to the brown-December suffered grass below.

He moved swiftly to his car, opened the door, placing - not tossing - his briefcase into the lonely-passenger seat. Starting the car, he left the radio off, placed his foot to the brake, shifted to 'drive' and moved slowly down the street.


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