Jim sat at his kitchen table. The laminated fake pine sucking the heat out of his cup of tea. He could hear the first bird of the day tweeting in the tree outside, he didn’t know what kind of bird it was, or tree. The early bird catches the worm, he said in his mind. There was no point in speaking out loud.
He stared out of the window. The sky was empty; streaks of cloud lit by the distant sun floated like a pink undercurrent on a dark lake. The streetlights were still on, the orange glow rising in the distance like a false dawn. His eyesight wasn’t good enough to see the individual street lights far off in the distance anymore. He remembered looking at the patterns of the street lights. If any blinked he wondering what the name of the street was that had the faulty light; just something he distractedly found himself thinking about now and again. But now he couldn’t do that anymore. Was it going to be a nice day? Was that the faint howl of wind he heard outside the window? He lifted in his seat a little to check. Nothing. He had half expected to see a fine mist of rain sweeping past that nearest streetlight there, and it would have been just his luck if there was.
The tea was only half-finished and now it was cold. He’d been letting his mind wander and had forgotten about it. He knew that later he would think about the tea when he was cold at a bus stop somewhere and wish he had drunk it all.. Was it time to move yet? He looked at his watch. He had to shift it around his thin wrist to see the face. He remembers the day his wife gave it to him. His wife; the thought of her comes into his head like a speeding train as he runs his finger over the cool watch face. He is transported back to that time, so deep and clear that it almost causes him physical pain. He supposes that is the grief. People talk about grieving but nobody really describes it- so how do people know when they are really feeling it? For him this is it, that pain in the centre of his chest, under his ribs, somewhere in the space between there and his heart- like a pocket of gas. Although if it was a pocket of gas then it would have escaped when the doctors had opened his chest up. It puzzles him how feelings can cause pain but in no real physical place that can be opened up and looked at or fixed, like they occur in another dimension of yourself. He supposes this is why people talk about souls. Maybe that’s what it is then, he thinks to himself.