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Sacrificial Self

Black boots strike the cold ground silently, a leather jacket gets pulled tighter around broad shoulders, and unkempt hair shudders in the cool wind.

Words are frenzied and frantic as they build up inside of him. He doesn’t know how to give them form. He doesn’t know how to force them from behind his lips. So he has no other option than to let them swarm and rage until they calm.

Mostly he just needs a little peace and quiet.

It’s brisk out and the sky looks a little too frigid for his liking, but there’s nowhere else to go besides away.

So this is him going away.

An old pocket watch weighs heavy in his pocket and he lets his hand grip it. Gently his thumb rubs it, almost lovingly. In some ways it’s his worry stone. The engraved pattern on its face is almost worn off, but the picture inside is still safe, only slightly yellowed with age.

He pays minute attention to the few that are out as early in this cold dawn. They have their own lives, their own worries, their own problems. They aren’t his and he has enough to think about anyway. Too much to think about.

His skull seems to grow tighter and tighter and all he wants is a little release. Teeth clench and he pauses to close his eyes, trying to will this pain away.

But it doesn’t dissipate. Not even a little.

It just gets worse.

So he continues. A slight drag in his step now, a few rocks scatter and the sound has a slight distracting effect.

As the sun rises higher and higher, more and more people start flooding the streets. The solace once found has finally been lost and he flips open the watch in his hand. A deep breath and he stops again. This time he turns around to begin the trek back.

There’s just not enough minutes in the day and he has things to do.

There’s no time for this suffocation, so he pushes it away. He tries to see the people he once passed and he tries to think of them. It’s hard, but he manages.

He always manages.

There’s too much to do and just not enough time for him.

So he pushes himself away until it’s simmering beneath his skin and though his chest feels tighter, he can do what he’s supposed to do.

And mostly that’s just not worrying about himself.

So he doesn’t.

The wind plays with his hair and his eyes close.

He knows he’ll be out at dawn tomorrow.

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