Douglas sat at the end of the table, rubbing his hands on the polished mahogany surface. He sighed. He checked the time again, just to make sure. The sun was coming down, splitting light through the cracks of the blinds, reflecting brilliantly off the table. A man walked in, looking down, avoiding eye contact with Douglas, and sat down quickly at the other end of the table. A silence ensued as the two waited for another couple of minutes.
When Douglas got out and was back on the street, he took a wrong turn and ended up at an unfamiliar intersection. He looked back towards where he came from, but saw only the vague semblance of a sidewalk that looked like any other. A woman bumped into him walking by. His feet shifted restlessly as his eyes wandered about—the signs were bent and distorted, the colors subdued. He saw something…
how time melts
Out of breath, he scrambled into the nearest store. He bent down, grabbing his knees and panting furiously. He held there for a few seconds before being seized by a jolt from behind, then falling, hitting his head on the tiled floor. A gasp followed the thud. He lay there, mangled next to the counter. Minutes later, as the clock began spinning again, someone put a hand on his shoulder, gently, and slowly rolled him on his back. Yes. Oh no. His mouth dangling open, hair roughed up and arms limp, caressed in the arms of a stranger. These passers-by that finally remain
a hot desert
He was left ceiling gazing. The fan turned into the sun, endlessly rising and setting. Stars appeared—little jewels that disappeared when he turned twenty and moved into the city—when the burning balls of gas were replaced by the magic of electricity, hanging day and night. Douglas felt like he was floating. Like his body was willing him to a slow, morbid dance. His eyes closed. He imagined his house in front of him, burning silently—perhaps just a small crackle, like a calm fireplace during the winter at his grandparents’ house; but none of the roar of destruction. What expectations there were in these lonely moments; no brilliant lights, no love. Just the immediate empathy of a quivering faceless individual, huddled to the sound of air conditioning. Seized up by this anticlimax—Douglas, remember?—a childhood summer, playing with his dog; his father’s laugh; a vacation to Europe—but no. None of that. He was left lying there, thinking about the pain in the back of his head. Is this it? Maybe I can get up. The door is only—
a dried feeble branch