1/3/2013: Mien

He was a man who purposefully lived alone, purposefully ate alone, slept alone, and when he entertained, he entertained himself only. He was a hermit but not a misanthrope, as he bore no ill-will against the world outside his doorstep; he just never felt quite a part of it. He spent most of his life contemplating the finality of various situations, and after calculating the results of possible relationships years in advance, always made the conscious decision to avoid them altogether. His parents he lost shortly after attaining the ability to know just what it means to lose someone. He had lost his other relatives much earlier, so young that he hadn’t even known he had found them in the first place. Thus when the bodies of his mother and father were identified by a few of the closer strangers in the small community and funeral arrangements were coldly planned by more of the same, he was left alone to bear full force the tempest of an unexpected goodbye.

The depth of his sense of loss removed him from others in the town for quite a long time, and those who attempted to reach him initially eventually stopped calling, and others who asserted the boy would need time alone to mourn all but forgot about his plight. Therefore when he surfaced back into society he found he had attained a relative state of invisibility among the crowds. At first it was difficult to negotiate the streets with this trait. A few early missteps had caused him to nearly be crushed underfoot, and he was nearly unable to successfully complete his first trip to the market. It would have been a total loss indeed if he had not stumbled upon a trick that he found could universally gain attention from the shopkeepers. On this excursion he was standing with his stomach pressed against the counter of his local baker, waiving his hands and cautiously stammering a few times whenever he thought the merchant was eying his general direction. As the man turned back to his work in the kitchen the boy jumped excitedly in a last ditch effort, and a coin shot up from his pocket and, catching the sunlight, bounced its image into the man’s face. Immediately the merchant descended on the boy and his coin and feverishly offered up many of the items for sale. From then on, he made sure to keep his largest gold piece in his front pocket, for the sake of convenience. He learned to manage his ability with shortcuts and diversions such as these and finally honed his craft so much that he could only be seen exactly when he was ready and could vanish in the same manner, mid-conversation if need be.

In the first years he had felt the pangs of a desire to return to normal human interaction and made a few attempts to form bonds with others around his age.  He would attempt to strike up conversations with other young men about the weather or books, and in his early twenties made it a near nightly ritual to seek out a lovely maiden and win her over in a reasonable amount of time. It wasn’t that all of these attempts went poorly. He was a fairly well-read man about this time, and could emulate charms to persuade the hearts of both genders to a reasonable success rate for friendship and lust. The weight of his loss had never lessened in his mind however, and he came to realize that he had a clairvoyance to see where the relationship would end, always unhappily. He thought he saw a kindred spirit in one boy, but after a while begin to get flashes of a future in which the boy was discovered to be stealing money from his box at home when he turned his back. This same boy was later jailed for making fraudulent dealings with the elderly. One woman he found himself particularly smitten with was doomed with a failing heart, and he saw that she would not survive past her thirtieth birthday. He shied away from her early on, and was not at all surprised to catch word of her passing years later, just as his visions had alerted him.

It was then that he settled into his routine which cut out any meaningful interaction with those around him. Generally it was reading in the morning, a walk in the afternoon, painting at night, interspersed with the occasional gold-piece trip to the market. He kept his conversations short and to the point: how much he would need of this, how he perceived the news of that, yes the rain was dreary but necessary, no more tea, thank you. He felt justified in the safety of this mien. He did not feel the extreme pain of loss, nor did he feel the apex of joy found in those fleeting perfect moments shared with loved ones. His life was a steady, controlled, quiet pulse. This was, he thought, the most comfortable life anyone could hope for. His mind was always at peace because he never had to worry or hustle. He had no dependents to teach or provide for, and for the rest of his days was never once again concerned about the possibility of unexpected goodbyes.

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Filed under English, Fiction, Literature, Uncategorized, Writing

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