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May 7, 2018

20. The Spindle of Necessity

It is, of course, a trifle, but there is nothing so important as trifles.
—Sherlock Holmes

* * *

Tom stood in the shower wasting water. A preposterous amount of time. How many gallons, he thought? How many liters? How many liters in a gallon? Two point. No. Three point six four. No. Three point eight four… right?

He tasted his soap. So bitter. No effort ever goes into soap flavors. Only expensive aromas that wear off as soon as you step out and dry off. He continued to rinse his body.

He heard his phone buzz on the toilet seat beside the shower. He dried his hand off just enough to reach his phone and read, hey I’m outside. He texted back, wrong number. Obviously. He wasn’t expecting anyone. And a 405? His phone told him that was Stillwater, Oklahoma area code. Tom had just moved to Brooklyn, New York. This is where he was going to make something of himself. He didn’t need anyone from Stillwater to hold him back. He saved the number in his contacts as “Stranger,” just in case.

* * *

The next day on the train he saw a man and woman sitting side by side. She could have been his daughter. Or she was a young girlfriend. Strange how that happens. His eyes were closed, a little commute rest, perhaps. He had a bit of gray in his beard but not too much. Maybe his tired complexion gave him age. Nonetheless she was clearly younger. Makeup does wonders. But she just stared at him. Tom thought she was staring past him, out the train window. But she wasn’t. Her gaze was measured and planted firmly, directly on the man’s face. What did she see?

* * *

Back home, when Tom was a kid, he and his dad used to throw the baseball in his spacious backyard. For hours they’d just toss it back and forth. The sun was in perpetual, orange twilight. It seemed like in those moments Tom went from child to teenager. And in those moments he never saw his dad again.

* * *

A year is more than time. It is how we spend our time. 
A dollar is more than money. It is where we spend our money.

* * *

Seven days later “Stranger” texted back, Hey its been a long time. Want to catch up?
Tom texted, Wrong number.
This is Tom right? I’d like to talk.
Who is this?

* * *

They say moths gather towards light seeking the truest darkness. It is behind the light they circle that darkness pulls them in. An escape mechanism of brokenness.

Index