An icy gust burned his weather-beaten cheeks. Under his skin, redness poked through. Like a ripe berry drooping on a low bush nearly touching the ground. Up and down the asphalt he walked. Up and down. Zigzagging between traffic. Shoulders sore. Nails brittle. Bits and pieces of last night’s dinner caught between the hairs on his chin. It had still been hot when the BMW driver threw it out of his car. A crinkled up fast-food bag, soaked in grease. But the chicken sandwich was half-eaten. And it tasted good.
Just like the other greasy piece of meat someone threw at him the day before. It was always like that. Rain or shine. Snow or sleet. Brittle winds or suffocating humidity. Every day was the same. Every day he was worn down just a little more. Life was mundane, even when it was utterly unpredictable.
He wanted to be anywhere but there. A beach in the Caribbean. He remembered life before. It was easy. Carefree. He owned a hotel, ironically. Was never alone either. There was always a beautiful, tan woman hanging on his arm.
But even then every day was the same.
Wake up before dawn to the sound of a piercing alarm. Hear birds chirping on palm tree branches outside the window. Drink two cups of coffee. Eat a quick breakfast. Out to the office. Keep the numbers out of the red. Keep the customers happy. Schmooze all day and night. Eat so much it hurts. Drink so much it hurts. And do it all over the next day under the burning, tropical sun.
Now, he woke up because he never really slept. The blaring sound of car horns all night kept him grazing just above the surface. Pigeons cooed above him, perching on viaduct beams. He sipped water from dirt-covered bottles. Nibbled on granola bars he’d been hoarding. Out to the streets. Keep inside the yellow line. Keep the drivers sympathetic. Beg all day and all night. Eat so little it hurts. Drink so little it hurts. And do it all over the next day under the angry, cloudy skies.
Because life was mundane, even when it was utterly unpredictable.