Lonely wanderer doesn’t know where he is going to, missed out on where he has been, and where he is is somewhere between a tropic play land and the melted battleground of erotic fantasies. He meets his mistress late every night believing she will keep him satisfied, but the pleasure is never as enjoyable as the time before.

His wife reaches for him, but he’s not there. She pretends to read until he walks in with the scent of another woman’s perfume on his skin. He climbs into bed and kisses her. She silently stands up and pulls on a pair of jeans. He asks where she is going. “Out,” she whispers, and he falls asleep.

The air is brisk as dawn approaches. She watches the sun come up from a park nearby. A homeless man asks her for some change. She doesn’t have any but offers him a few pieces of candy from her purse and a cigarette. He seems grateful. She pulls a cigarette out for herself and smokes it slowly.

She was in her Camelot once. There was chivalry and romance and unparalleled bliss. But it all came to an end and now her life is bleak. She wants out.

Lunchtime comes and she hasn’t come home yet. He begins to worry. He loves her. He wants to reach out to her, hold her, make love to her, but his guilt is too deep. He had it all – a loving wife to wake up with and a beautiful young mistress to satisfy his depravity – the best of both worlds. But it’s not enough anymore and he doesn’t know how to change.

His mistress wakes up alone each morning in tears. She doesn’t love him. She barely even likes him. He’s older – not distinguished or mature or sexy. She feels degraded each night when he comes to her – more and more isolated each time he fucks her. The physical pleasure is not what it used to be. The autumn air brushes against her neck and gives her chills. She longs for a childhood she never had – for safety and love. She wishes for something to call her own – anything to call her own.

The homeless man sits on a bench watching the people as they walk by. He eats the candy and listens to his stomach growl. He saves the cigarette – he doesn’t have a light anyway. He looks over at the flowers and watches them grow, thanks God for his sight. He fiddles with the cigarette and a stranger offers him a light. He sits back and smiles.

***I found this while going through my old journals. It was originally written on July 28, 1998.***

Photo Credit


2 responses to this post.

  1. What’s sad about all this is that no one is truly happy – and then they wind up making self-destructive choices which make things even worse. And so everyone ends up even worse. All because it’s so hard to face up to life’s problems. A very telling vignette. I liked all the different points of view.


    • Thank you . . . I’ve always had trouble writing short stories because I don’t like all of the drawn out irrelevant details (which is actually one of the reasons I’m so picky about the books I read and why I love Kurt Vonnegut’s style so much), but I love writing these little glimpses into people’s lives.

      I remember writing this, but I don’t remember what prompted it.


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