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The Miles to Go

I was trying to figure out how to post this, whether to finish it and post it last section to first, or to post in in serial headed in the wrong direction.

I decided to post it in serial, every Wednesday. Sounds like a fun project, and I have too much time on my hands anyways. I find myself on a regular basis sitting at my computer at 2 in the morning, not sure what to do and rambling into the illiterate computer. He doesn't understand me but he sits diligently in his place, just as I left him, happy to take any and all input I find the inspiration to write.

Anywho, here is part one.

The Miles to Go
by Jon Pelletier

Part one: Morning Sun

He woke at 7 am that day, to the cold air flowing through the cracks in his window. His hair hung low around a tattered collar. He rolled over and sat on the side of the bed. He looked to his left and noticed the feet of a small woman, red toenails against the spilled wine on the sheets. He looked to his right, and a half bottle of Stilvanna vodka lay in the mirror. He picked it up and took a heavy pull. He coughed and reached for his cigarettes.

He stood up and looked outside. The sun was just barely over the horizon. The clothesline swung loose at one end. Free two stories down from him and scraping a window across the street. He thought he could hear it, but it may have been his tick. The girl rolled over, “How about a cigarette, dear.” She emphasized the “dear” in such a way that he just grunted. “The clothesline is loose.” He said, smiling, and tapping his finger on the window.

He felt like getting high. He hadn’t been high in ages, but today he needed something to settle his nerves. The grey sky looked down on him as he looked at the grey city below. Three cars drove in one direction, stopping at the light on the corner. A young man jumped out of the first one.

The young woman jumped out of bed. “What’s wrong?” she whispered in his right ear. He turned around, muttering. She looked at him, and stepped out of the room saying “Don’t worry, I’ll put the coffee on.”

In his reach, while sitting at the table, he had a teaspoon. It was about four and half inches long, with a shiny silver bowl, and a carving in the head of it. A sparrow. The man had always liked sparrows. So small. Had not seen them recently though, perhaps they were going south for the winter. He sipped his coffee. He turned on the radio, but soon turned it off after all he could hear was static. His eyes browsed around his dirty kitchen. The sink full, grime on the cupboards, which he had never noticed before. He looked at the pile of newspapers on the table. He picked up the top one and opened to the crossword. He then closed it when it reminded him of the morning he tried to solve it.

He had been up all night. He wanted to sleep but could barely close his eyes, so he walked down to the ground floor and to the twenty-four hour bagel shop. He wasn’t hungry, so he grabbed the paper and ran back to his home. Sitting there four hours, he mused, and only found 7 words.

He sipped his coffee, sitting for a moment and achieving a peace. He then lit a cigarette. The young woman sat across for him, her red hair in a mess around her face. “What you thinking’ about?” she chirped. “You have to go, you get out of here. I’ll deal with this.” He was tired and dirty and anxious to get her out of his apartment. He tried to stifle the thought of his daughter while looking at this girl. She walked into the other room.

He got up and opened the fridge. He gave up after noticing three balloons floating by his window. He walked over and opened it. It creaked but gave way. He stuck his head out and looked left. He then jutted his head back to send his eyes straight up in the air. He couldn’t find the balloons.

When he turned on the shower it sputtered and then shot. It’ll be a minute, he thought. He went to the kitchen and turned off the light. When the steam started pouring into the room he sat and sipped his coffee. He got up and walked to the next room, shuffling out of his clothes, he went in to the shower headfirst. The soap fell off the side and he cussed.

He walked outside, the boy on the corner tried to peddle him another newspaper. He replied with a gruff no. He then checked his eye colour in the window of the next shop. An older lady saw this and smiled and the man looked down towards the cement. Counting the lines in the sidewalk, he clipped a parking meter. He ducked quickly into an office building.

Three seven six.
A monolith of a structure, he thought, 48 floors. He cleaned it all with one mop. He was proud of that.

He had originally gotten the job at seventeen years old. He had to pay his rent, eventually the child support was the only reason he kept it. He told himself that anyway. It helped him feel satisfied with the sandwich he had at noon. It helped him enjoy the cup of coffee he had at two. He enjoys the walk home; more so on the days where the wind threw him around and the frost burned his cheeks. He looked out the window and smiled for a second, but at the first glance he noticed in his direction he went back to sweeping the floor.

The young woman walked by 376 quickly, down to the corner and she turned left. She walked two blocks towards the bay and sat on the corner. She fixed her lipstick in her reflection on the window. She crossed the street and found her number. Five forty two. She looked at the menacing staircase triumphantly. She smiled as she opened the door and walked inside. Two minutes later she came to her floor.

She opened her door with a creak. She was tired, but only collapsed on the couch. She pulled off her skirt and stockings and began to unbutton her shirt. She got up abruptly and fixed her hair. She lit a cigarette, her lips puckered against the filter. She watched the smoke roll out of her mouth and against the broken window.

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