Saturday Afternoon

The late afternoon sat in its four o’clock light and the breeze called him outside. Patches of shade darkened the grass and the leaves rustled delicately as he lit a cigarette quietly. He wouldn’t speak for a while longer, not out of wistful emotion or passive remorse, but because the ripened twilight called for silence. He sat on a lawn chair and took a drag. He balked at the taste and feared for the day he enjoyed it more than a little. For now he sat and let it burn, the ember glow inching its way up to the filter with every suck, like the sun setting, the light receding from the grass.

He looked at his hands and felt the calloused skin from where he’d bitten them too much. The stress and nervous energy that the long healed wounds owed were far in the past – memories whose conflicts had long been resolved and now left themselves on his fingers. He imagined what they’d look like in old age. Wrinkled, rough and tan. What new creations owed themselves to their callouses. He breathed in and let the nicotine creep into his head and the ends of his fingers. He finished and stubbed the butt out. He lit another and got a headache. He was not a smoker, he was just curious.

He looked out at the trees and let time pass over him like lazy water rolling off tired skin. He was hungry and wondered if he was fat. He was tired and wondered if he was lazy. He was comfortable and wondered if he should be guilty. Engines rumbled on the street in the distance, two birds spoke in chirps through the trees. The leaves kept rustling as the breeze rose and fell like waves in a fresh water bay. He registered that it was all very beautiful, but he did not think it. He sat, listened, and watched the world develop into night.

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