If you’ve ever read Hemingway, you know it needn’t be pretty.
I’ve read a book and a half.
The last time my shoes grew too tight, I can’t remember. That’s the thing about life – you don’t recall the past unless it hurts. Or even if you harken back to pleasant memories, the pain of separation sets in. Maybe that’s a good thing. Looking backwards has been the culprit in countless incidents of tripping.
If you forget cash when driving a turnpike, you have to pay your toll later. This will incur a penalty fee (as well as a convenience fee if you pay online). This has happened to me thrice now, on two separate drives. I need to reel it in.
As Charlie strolled the cobbled alley, he suddenly thought about his old schoolteacher, Miss Huntley. He was perplexed by her sudden appearance in his mind. He recalled immediately the smell of her classroom – that permanent relic-like musk at the base, garnished with fresher strands of cleaning and bodies and glue. Former schoolmates appeared in flashes. Ol’ Ashley Ballentine, Rusty Chardinski, Alfie Mannerman, even Leslie Gilbert. The whole lot of ’em.
Then Charlie wondered what age Miss Huntley would be now.
“Actually…” he pondered, “how old was she when I was in her class?”
“She seemed so old at the time, but… to an eight year old, everyone seems old.”
“It was only her second year teaching – or at least her second at Whitcane… maybe she was only in her twenties?”
“Was she younger than I am now?”
Charlie got so hopelessly lost in his reverie, he strayed a little too far into the alleyway right exactly as a cyclist whizzed past. The cyclist’s right hand, wrapped tight around the handlebar, clipped Charlie’s left hip, sending him face-forward into the cobbles and the rider on a careening, twisting tumble toward the same.