‘Tattered man’

Lightning split the sky and the heavens poured, smothering the streets in rain water.

“Could you spare any change, sir? This weather’s foul.”

Adam paused as his father walked on. He looked down upon the tattered man sitting cross legged, eternally rigid, though there was no obvious height difference. Had he not spoken, his exposed existence would have gone unnoticed. From under the remains of a quivering quilt he presented cupped hands.

“Adam! What have we told you?” His father shouted.

Adam closed his eyes and said, “Not for you.”

His father took hold of his wrist, leading Adam away.

***

Adam had always drawn comfort from this kind of weather since he was a child. Never, though, had he grasped the origins he thought born from whipping winds and relentless rain. Whether watching from his bedroom window or listening in bed. After encountering the old man he questioned why, it would be a long time before he could answer it.

Despite the damp the weather delivered, peace enveloped his every thought. Rarely did someone rest as easy under those chaotic skies. Maybe it was the manner the rain rinsed his window as he gripped his duvet, maybe it was the way wind caressed his house. The warring above, outside and distant.

Cocooned in glass and stone, he no longer needed to climb the window ledge as his nights grew longer, still watching whenever the skies decided to battle.

Inside that home were his bed, his clothes, his posters, his TV, an army of musical instruments Aunt Philippa had bought him over the years, and that bland but familiar ceiling. Change on the inside is much more controllable. Outside is disorder, unpredictable but watchable from afar. Knowing this now Adam understood, where the comfort came from.

***

Thunder troubled the skies, scarcely is Adam’s current ceiling ever remain the same and how he longed now for blandness above.

“Any spare change, sir?” He asks.

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