Left for Dead by a Prattling Brook

The backyard falls quickly downhill. The path is steep and full of danger—just the way they like it. At the top of it sits a house with a window and in it a man made mostly of love and hints of despair. Blood flowed where whiskey should be. Words stumbled where a pillar should stand. The view from the window was full of children running across a mountain at speeds that take years to comprehend.

How fast is happiness? How long does laughter linger? Emotion is worn upon the surface, a layer between the skin and the coat akin to sweat and aloof as rain. Tears flow like waves of sunshine and joy howls like the wind. Nature and nurture shout promises above the din of the other.

The man stood before the play like a patron before the stage. Act built upon act. The house was full and the applause sincere. The man stood before the view and it was only a sheet of glass that held him in. The stub of a ticket does not guarantee readmittance and the program seemed so promising. Sheets of glass also hold wonder and traces of fear. His pockets held nothing.

Things had been said that the children need not know. Assumptions were made and all that was granted was taken for it. Years of hard work were rewarded with the faceless slip of a heartless farewell. The man had been pushed from the bridge along with the means to burn it. He clutched a match in his other hand. His was the picture of restraint.

There is a certain freedom there, he thought, in the loss of one’s livelihood. He imagined a hole where his care should be.

The children ran too fast down too steep a hill. The danger was fantastic. Their laughter lifted lightly and he began to hum along.

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