As time passed he lost the outlines of the buildings against the increasingly greying sky. He had the reference of the urban-orange backlight until the weather got thick enough to obscure even that. It was quiet- quiet enough that he could hear anything around him, or would, if the fresh snow didn't mute everything. All he could hear was the sound of his holed shoes mashing the half-inch of snow into messy footprints in the sidewalk.
He loved the sensory deprivation of the first snow of the advancing winter. He loved anything that dulled or eliminated the echoes of the city around him. This particular sidewalk was usually empty this much later than rush hour anyway, but he felt doubly solitary in the muted darkness, blinking through the falling flakes. He was the last person in the world.
Occasions like this afforded him undistracted opportunities to contemplate any of the countless thoughts that flitted to the fore of his mind. At the moment, his thoughts were on Lena. He didn't like thinking about her, as it filled him with miserable desire. Though he tried not to, he thought about how important she was to him, and how she appeared to be able to turn off whatever feelings she'd had and just walk away. It hurt him to think about Lena.
He tried to clear his mind, and took a left on his street. He had to cross to the far side because the city was demolishing an old building. Some would call it abandoned and dilapidated. He called it historic and significant. But that didn't matter. The large glass building across the street needed additional parking, and decided to turn the old building- it appeared to be a theatre or an opera house in happier times -into twenty-eight landscaped surface parking spaces.
He needed something to cheer him up. Just as he thought that, his phone vibrated with a text. It was Lena, asking him what he's up to. He didn't answer, but he was reminded that he'd like to go and do something. Something about this kind of evening and weather invigorated him. He sent a text to Mark, who lived nearby.
"Quick beer at barney's? I'm on the move."
A response came within a minute. "no can do. got a meeting at 7am and my boss is on to me."
He decided not to explore what the second part of the text meant, and just kept walking. The sidewalk became steep, and he lost his footing in the snow as he put his phone back in his pocket. His right foot slid left, sweeping his left foot out of action, and he came to an unpleasant impact against the sidewalk, his right elbow taking the brunt of the blow.
There was nobody to see him fall, but he was still embarrassed. His elbow was screaming, and painfully popped back into what he assumed was the proper position when he stood up and straightened his arm. The stickiness against his new shirt confirmed to him that he was bleeding. "Dammit," he said.
His invigorated hopes for an interesting evening dashed, he went home to dress his elbow and go to bed early.
4:07 PM, Jul 31, 2009