Those words hung in the air, clinging to an atmosphere thick with question and, he supposed, a little bit of fear. A chance at life, he wondered, was that something he really even deserved? No, the deserving had little to do with his life, with very few people’s lives if truth were told. He supposed the question was if he wanted it. Christopher looked at Susan, met her steady gaze, then found himself focusing upon the tiled floor beneath her chair. The gray and white squares were scuffed and damaged while maintaining a well cared for appearance.
He couldn’t help but smile as he thought of that blasted tarp, the fight that had ensued and, of course, how very lovingly its owner cared for it. No matter the life it was relegated to, the object was not discarded as trash, nor tossed about and sullied as such, but instead was held in reverence to the good purpose it offered. It was a simple scrap, really, one many would have taken for granted, but in the hands of the right person it found its purpose and had its value acknowledged. The same idea, he supposed, could be applied to people – each left adrift in a sea of faces and bodies, unremarkable except to those who found fascination and value in them. But that external validation, as difficult as it was to achieve at times, was far easier to gain than that sense of internal acceptance and revelry. How many times did a person awake, look themselves in the mirror and think how wonderful it was to be them? His face had never done anything for him without the knowledge of its place amongst the three others; when he had looked upon his wife, curled up against him in early dawn or when he felt the stray limb of one or both children digging into his back reminding him of their required stormy night sleeping arrangements he felt that sense of value of self, that meaning of life and love.
Had he truly been living his life under such a false premise? This idea his life had little of value or, if he were being honest, none at all without living for someone else? No. That wasn’t quite right. He had simply been a better person because of them, because of how desperately encouraged he felt by having been loved by the amazing person that, first, his wife was and then later his children. He had not lived for himself, even known what that was, for a very long time. The thought of doing so again only seemed to fill his world with an indelible and impenetrable black ink.
Please come back on Thursday for the exciting conclusion of “The Vagrant”! [You can also stop back on Wednesday just for fun!]