Saturday, May 21, 2016

Fiona St.

The light was harsh and intrusive, even through his closed eyelids.  And the truck backing up seemed to make the light pulse.  Each beep was a red flash behind his eyelids, as if beating against his brain.  He tried to assess the situation- but with the pain occupying his skull he was far beyond the task.

He became aware, in a sad, slow sort-of way, of pressure on his upper back.  And underneath his left hip.  He couldn't get a good feel of anything exactly, just vague and horrible sensations.  Every investigation threatened to tear him further from the now blissful-seeming detachment he'd felt from his body before he started to awake.

He tried, briefly, to breathe deeper and fall back into the darkness.  But the light and the sound and the pain kept at him, insistent and relentless.  And with each beep, each engine turn, each yell from someone in an echo-ey alleyway he became more aware.  Not only of the pounding in his head and the pressure against him as he leaned in some awkward position but also of the quickly developing nausea in his stomach and dizziness that seemed to revolve in his head.

Before he could think he felt a new sensation in his hand- a body-part he hadn't previously been aware of.  As if something had been pushed into it, forced into his loose grip.  His eyes shot open against his will and he saw what it was- a crumpled up bill.  He heard rather than seeing the person who had bestowed it as turning his head to look threatened to topple him.  It was the sound of footsteps made by nice shoes- black patent leather with heels.  He knew the sound so well it registered instantly even without sight and his mind began to piece together the information.

He was slumped against the building in the early morning of city activity- like the bakery truck delivering flour across the street, and a business man en route to one of the high-rise office buildings had inserted a bill into his outstretched hand, thinking him a vagrant.

The scene blossomed in his mind, clear and concise.  He was a bum, or at least, that's what everyone saw.  How else to describe someone in his state- still somewhat drunk from the night before, slumped against a wall in an alleyway, probably reeking from sweat and god only knew what else, wearing clothes worn down by a hard night.  It was a scene so instantaneously recognizable his mind couldn't reject it and it sunk in.

The full awareness hit him, washed over him, drowned him.  And in the aftermath there was only one question left over: How the hell did he get this bad?

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