I draped my cloak over my shoulder. It will end today, I am certain. She said she liked this cloak on me, something about its dark color, but I felt it made me look paler. Disillusioning. In an attractive way.
You know how they say that everything happens for a reason, and in the end things always get resolved, even if not in the way you always imagined? I do believe in that, but it doesn’t give me as much comfort as I would want. I am a believer nevertheless, and some ideas of morality have provided me with companionship when people haven’t. You judge yourself too harshly, mon trésor. No, no, not today. I cannot let her get to me today. This feels like a good day and tomorrow will be better.
“Monsieur Robin, where have we reached in this world’s race?” Romanoff’s usual greeting broke my line of desperate thought as I entered his bookshop on the corner of Rochester and Fifth, or more like was plunged into it by the wind. It was just past three and already dark, cold, and dusty- typical Gratia winter weather. The town held about as much charm as a dark alley did. In-fact, the whole town seemed to be made up of dark alleys with narrow passageways coursing through the entire town. There wasn’t enough space for vehicles of any sort to move around, which kept accidents and pollution to non-existent levels, but there was always still an uncanny amount of dust everywhere. No matter how many times a day the streets were cleaned, an unearthly settling of dust was always present. The Square was the largest open area of the town, and by large, not too much. Most of the markets and cafes were gathered around its outline which was a lot more circular.
“Still in the race, my friend,” I replied with a weary smile. I don’t know where I’m going, I thought to myself. But I was running away from something. Restlessness was the constant state of my mind. I was ready to dash off anywhere and everywhere. I refocused my attention on Romanoff and smiled, “I’ve run out of blank paper.”
* * *
Click. I entered my small apartment on the corner of Fors alley. It was on the top floor of a rickety apartment housing that was in one of the older neighborhoods of the town. It had eaten away most of the money I had, but I was lucky because it had its own gallery that opened to the north of the town giving me a bird’s eye view of the hills and river. The view over the town was spectacular itself. On clear days, light graciously flooded my apartment. I put on a kettle for tea and went back over to the gallery. To the east, I could see Romanoff in the Square walking with another gentleman I didn’t know, headed towards his neighborhood, both carrying so many books that threatened to fall from their arms any second. The vendors in the Square were beginning to close shop, and I could see Hades the baker using aggressive hand gestures with another vendor who looked anxious. Probably picking another unnecessary argument with him. Hades was the town baker. Usually the first thing that comes to your mind when you picture a baker is somebody with a big mustache, slightly over weight, with an inviting, friendly demeanor, and certainly not named after the Greek god of the Underworld. Hades was the opposite of all these qualities, and frankly, lived well up to his name. I sighed and went back inside my apartment. I filled my tea cup and settled onto my study table. I took out a book with a mahogany, leather cover from the top drawer, and without hesitation began writing:
Almost immediately, writing appeared underneath mine.
Hello, what are we unto today?
I couldn’t help smiling.