Absentmindedly, I eased up off the sofa, and headed out for a cigarette. Smokes are better in the winter. There’s something about you and that tiny living ember. Huddling together against the cold world that makes it closer. It’s personal; and more present.
The latch clicks easily behind me as the door catches, and I enter the blue-washed half light. And carpeted silence. The glowing eyes of houses across the street gaze through me. Out here, there is breath, and cold, and moonlight. But, behind those eyes, TVs throw shadows and dishes clink after supper. Drinks are finished, and teeth are brushed. Warm little actual windows to the soul.
The wind isn’t too bad, and I dip my face into the lining of my coat to light up. And the first exhale lets the cold in just a tiny bit. The bones of the hand are always first, but the heat from indoors is still running strong. Somewhere to my right, past the skeleton trees the tiny voice of a radio is singing. Sounds like oldies, but the distance is too great, and its lost in the gusts.
When the world is this quiet, I feel invincible.
Some primitive tribes believe that this entire universe is the dream of one being. If that were true, then it would mean that somewhere in some part of the universe, god is walking around. Not knowing that he is the dreamer or even that he is asleep. Like a slow-moving crocodile, just perceiving and leaving ripples of creation in his wake. In my dreams, I’m not always me. Sometimes I’m the bear or a toothless old man. So their mythology says, this dreamer; could be any shape. He doesn’t know what’s happening, I mean, after all it IS a dream. He could be any place, any form just the accidental font of existence. And shit. If he woke. What then? The whole damn universe gone in a flash. Not even a stain where our wars and love-making and judgements all took place. No fanfare or Jericho horns, just a blink. And the dreamer wakes up to whatever the hell he was doing billions of years before the Big Bang, puts on his tie, and goes to work.
The Camel is just a nub now; paper and cotton and a fading light. Casually, I drop it to the wooden porch and crush it neatly beneath the toe of my boot. After a breath, I retrace my steps to the peeling white door. Now, even after a thousand handshakes, the rusty handle feels foreign somehow. Its probably the cold. Hands always get it first. The door slides open against the cold, and the smell of the house is an old friend. The tiny radio is louder here. One more step.
The smell of coffee. And I never hear the latch click again.

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