He walks

The tall man walks.

He walks through the village. He doesn’t live there but he walks there. Every day he walks there.

His face is tanned. It is wrinkled and leathery – he must smoke or have smoked. The lines show the inhalations – one after another, after another. His eyes have squinted hundreds of thousands of times drawing the smoke deep into his lungs.

He looks like he’s walking somewhere.

But his eyes betray him.  He’s walking away from something. He can’t escape his haunted look. His eyes tell his story.

His steps are heavy. Heavy with emotion. He cannot scrape the emotion from his boots. He’s tried. The heaviness sticks. It weighs him down just as thick clay pulls your feet down deeper into the dark mud.

Miles he walks. Every day. Escape doesn’t come to him. But the movement keeps him from himself. He needs the routine, the structure, the commitment. He sentences his feet to the tarmac, to the rain, to the mud and to the rhythm of his pace. Without this daily monotony his deepest losses rise up and engulf his every cell and darken every thought.

His body is tired but the physical pain is a relief because it distracts him from himself. His sorrows. His losses. So many losses.

With every step he tries to break free. But he cannot escape himself.

Some days there is a flash of warmth on the back of his neck. He forgets himself for a second and uncoils his tense muscles. His inner demons are being melted by the force of the sun. They are being evaporated. They leave his mind lighter.

He keeps going, he keeps walking. He’s greedy for the lightness, the respite. He chases these elusive seconds where he ceases to be caged by himself. And in these vanishing moments he is free. Walking sets him free.

So the tall man walks.

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