Something and nothing

April 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

He has been walking for three quarters of an hour now, and he is beginning to think that he should have put on some more substantial footwear before setting out. His old deck shoes, so comfortable on the beach yesterday, are no match for the furrowed field in which he now finds himself.

The rest of the family have headed away from the coast today, towards a small market town where they will buy vegetables, some meat for the evening’s barbecue, and some trinkets to offer the neighbours on their return by way of a thank you for looking after the cat. He said he’d stay here, thanks, perhaps get out for a stroll if he could muster up the energy.

Truth be told, he just wanted a bit of peace and quiet. He finds it hard when the family are around all the time, clamouring at him with questions and opinions, and whilst he winces at the cliché about going back to work for a break, he understands today more than most days that he is happiest when alone, driving between appointments or in his office with the door firmly closed. Space and time to think.

All that can be seen from this spot here is more of these same flat blank fields stretching forwards, punctuated here and there by unkempt hedgerows. He could be anywhere; there are no discerning features to pinpoint him to within twenty miles of where he is right now. He knows, too, that with his phone, his wallet, his passport all on the side back at the cottage, there is no ready way of identifying him. He is not where he is supposed to be, wherever that is; he is confounding expectations.

He knows, too, that if his wife were to know that he was currently standing at the edge of a ploughed-empty field, divested of material identity, she would begin to worry – not so much about his whereabouts, but about the ease with which one can disappear whilst still so close at hand.

He resumes his walk, heading towards a tree on the near horizon.


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