He left his flat and instantly realised he had forgotten his keys. He’d placed them atop the television in order to remember their companionship, a location calculated due to its proximity to the exit, but remember did he fuck, the door now closed, locked and stern while the landlord awaited rent, the last thing Henry sought to buy. So he decided to get away from all his failures and search for something else in town. To seek something out that might remind him of humanity and hope. But as he descended the stairs it struck him, suddenly from the shadows and unwelcome in his brain. The panic. The fear. The realisation that at any moment, at any given time, he might find himself confronted with an overwhelming desire to recoil and run. Run so fast his legs would splinter into shards of crooked flesh. A trail of blood and disappointment rotting in his retreat. These perilous potentials to harm his fragile will were bountiful in emergence and his eyes quivered in recognition of this impassioned fact. Such bouts of fevered fear encompassed everything he thought and felt, like his state of present unemployment. Finding a job was not the problem, keeping it was. Thinking about the problem became a problem, and so he decided to forget about it, and forget he did, like his keys, gone into the gloom.
Somehow he found himself at the bus stop. He could not remember the walk but there he was, waiting for something to happen. He considered a visit to his father’s grave but soon decided against it. It meant a different bus, it meant remembering, it meant pain and reflections of all he failed to understand. Since his fathers death Henry avoided all but one sensation, and that sensation became so commonplace it now lacked the pleasure it once possessed. So he decided to have a break. He decided perhaps it might be time to find a real woman. A woman he could touch. A woman he could hold and hope to love and cherish. And town was his only hope.
Having sat in meditation throughout the journey he got off the bus and walked towards the shopping centre. Passing through the myriad of shoppers he felt the brief touch of another individual and looked to his side to witness the form of beauty bared and framed on mortal feet. She was right there. Beside him. Breathing the same air. Walking on the same ground. Pure. Perfect. Human. He decided to follow and see what opportunities might arise for a conversation, a social sensibility he knew little of. She stopped by the window of Ann Summers and instantly Henry’s mind filled with erotic fantasies and images of sex and sweat and screaming. He saw bathrooms filled with the flicker of candles, scents of passion rising in the mist and the glow of lovemaking filling empty souls. He was under her spell. She bewitched him and he welcomed it, wilfully surrendering his unstable functions to the magic of her form. She took a few more steps and walked into a coffee shop. He watched her in the queue and followed the smooth surface of her dress as it traced her shapely rear. She purchased her milky latte and sat at a table overlooking the busy market stalls, her dress lifting slightly to reveal the texture of her thighs. Her face glistened in the artificial light, a look of ease, a calm and peace he no longer knew. She had it. She had it all. She was perfect. I must approach her, Henry urged. It must be done. But what do I say? How do I start? What words can portray when man alone is dumb? He looked around for inspiration but was immediately drawn back to her. I’ve never done anything like this before. I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what to do. Do I sit down? Do I stand and speak? Do I walk away? Fuck it, I have to say something, I’m tired of being alone and empty. He walked over to her table and stood looking down on her. Immediately he began to regret his decision and considered a hasty retreat. The panic was setting in and fear and anger and hatred were twisting and churning the stuffing of his skin. What do I say? What? Help? He could feel his heart hammering his ribs, his eyes blinking and cursing all the weakness set within. You fool! You complete and utter fool! What have you done! What have you done! Get out of here. Run. Run fucker run. But before he could move away and accept defeat she looked up to identify the shade upon her face.
‘Can I help you?’ My God she was beautiful, Henry thought as his eyes began to burn.
‘Er…do…do you mind if I sit down?’ Henry said with great disbelief.
‘Sorry?’ She leaned in closer.
‘Do you mind if I sit down?’ he repeated slightly louder and suspicious of her apology.
‘No…not at all…it’s fine. Go ahead.’ She smiled.
‘Can I get you anything?’ He asked.
‘No, thank you, I’m fine.’
Henry stood in awe of her for a moment longer. She was fucking amasing, Henry observed, absolutely fucking amasing. Suddenly he realised what he was doing and decided the best course of action would be the preservation of her kind reception, so he turned and ordered an iced coffee from the counter. This is fucked up. What am I doing? What the fuck is going on? He wasn’t sure, but it felt good. He was scared and nervous, but also something else, something long forgotten, something waiting to be awoken. He returned to sit opposite her and she smiled at him again before returning her eyes to the printed words atop her palm. What to say? He questioned, it seemed so easy when no thoughts were mended by the detail, and now that was all that remained among the allocation of its fright. She had not objected to his approach and now he was sat beside her gripped by fear and hatred. What the fuck do I say? Henry searched his ill practised mind. Come on! What? What do I say? Tell me what to say! Please! She looked up from her book and smiled. Shit.