Forty-five

He suffered the most after placing his book on the bedtable and turning out the light.  That’s when the demons arose. Fears of death, job loss, infidelity, financial pressure. He felt anger over the misdeeds of others. Corporate malfeasance, Trumpers, religious zealots. He wondered what the world would be like if we could somehow rid ourselves of their presence.

He’d imagine being an angel or some being between the angels and man, given license to deal with such people. The hammer of the gods. But mostly he dreamed of a cabin deep in the woods away from it all. It was all so clear in his mind. A covered porch, a stove, walls lined with books and cherished art. Comfortable chairs and an ancient table upon which he’d eat. A sleeping nest above the room. A bed with a goose-down comforter and a Pendleton wool blanket, the cat’s favorite spot.  A reading light and a Jack London novel on a small table next to the bed.

In the mornings, he’d go for walks along an ancient game trial beside the creek. Deer would peak at him through the rhododendron. They knew him now and perhaps even found some comfort in one another’s presence. A soft mist blanketed the creek, soon to be cleared once the sun cleared the ridge.

After his walk, he’d write. His writing had some urgency since he was the featured poet at the next poetry reading in town. The girl would be there, so the work had to be his best. He hoped the words would fly off the page and pierce her tender heart. He’d never ached for a woman like he did for her. Her soft brown hair and loving eyes. Those cotton dresses she wore and the well-worn boots. Eyeliner. He always had a thing for eyeliner. He wondered about the locket around her neck. Who’s image did it contain?

Parked in front of the cabin was his truck, a white and red 1978 F-150. Later in the day, he’d drive into town. He’d lunch at the café then peruse the books at the local bookstore. Small talk with the regulars. Then he’d grab some supplies and head back to his cabin, alone.

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