This week’s prompt:
after the sun departs and we are greeted by constellations
or what we could see past the rising light of the city
The elitists of the day go home
A time of opportunities has gone down with the day
But what would the night bring us?
The start of a new journey and to be one with the city
Never in the eyes of a 9-5 type
Like his mum’s teeth, it was at night when he came out.
He liked being out in the dark. He could hide in the shadows, pretend he was someone he wasn’t, avoid confrontation by slipping into the alleys and gulfs of society and no one would notice or care.
The daylight worried him, he was far too vulnerable, visibility was not all people thought it was as exposure brought scrutiny and he never wanted any of that.
So as the night spread itself over the landscape, he’d venture out, walk the streets, watch the nightlife, marvel at the audacity of some, the dress of others, the foolhardiness of the young who thought the dark gave them licence to do whatever they felt they could.
Instead, he watched them all and then moved on, there was a place where he felt at peace, where the space afforded him an anonymous identity, where surrounded by kindred spirits he could sit and talk, share a meal, communicate and feel no threat.
The shelter was busy, it was always busy, the detritus of life all gathered in one place, safe and at ease with itself. He came in the side door and found a seat along the far wall, sat and looked about.
Crazy Annie was across the room accusing her neighbour of wanting to steal her stuff, the usual evening ritual, a form of entertainment at Annie’s expense he knew but enough to give him something to inwardly smile at.
One never smiled in the shelter. You kept emotion to yourself, it exposed you to attention, and no one here wanted attention.
What they wanted was warmth, food and relief from the relentless expectation of living.
So he sat and waited for the food cart to come round. Maned by young men and women the cart was the symbol of acceptance. It stopped by you, and a bowl of soup would be offered and usually some sort of dish involving pasta. Tonight it was a lasagne, and he greedily ate the potion he was given.
Around him were the welcome sounds of mouths devouring their meals, soup being slurped and the satisfaction of polite burps as meals were washed down with gulps of water from the bottles delivered with each meal.
Conversation wasn’t something that was encouraged as that meant you were getting too settled and the shelter didn’t want that, they wanted you to move on, vacant your spot so someone else could be fed.
Once completed it was time to leave, to walk once again amongst the living and see it he could make it home without attracting the attention of the lunatics imbued with enough alcohol to make them feel braver than they might normally be and him as a subject of their bravery. It did happen, and he feared it.
Once home he curled up into his bed, watched the light of a new day begin to poke through his drawn blinds and think to himself he’d made it through another night.