Thousands of thoughts bubbled in the cauldron of his head. His eyes bored themselves on the flickering lights of the streets. Numerous shadows passed by but none spared him a glance. Loud whispers on mobile phones pressed hard against ears, exhausted feet making hurried steps. The streets kept heaving shifting and breathing in spite of the late strokes of the clock on the tower. They all seemed to be going somewhere. They went east, west, north and south but he knew they were all going to the same place —– home, wherever it maybe.


For that young bald man getting into the cab, it was a neatly kept house where a woman with a sour expression would open the door and the only reason she would be up at such an hour would be solely to make a series of complaints which neither her husband nor the world could tend to. For that old man with droopy eyes and a half smile it was where a warm fire would be lit in front of a sofa and a dog would come running towards him gleefully with all the love in the world in his eyes for his master. For that twenty something woman with a guitar slung on her back it was where a bed waited for her to spread her painfully aching body and heart, where she would sojourn till the morning called her to meet her needs in a world that went within and without. So home was a place somebody or something waited for you. Our protagonist smiled at that thought and dropped more cigarette ash to the pool beside his feet. Then he put the sweet burning monster between his lips and let his feet be his guide. The stream of people consumed him and he moved along with them helplessly, too tired to oppose. No, he did not mind at all.

In a matter of time he found himself downtown. Why was he here? Well, where else could he be? He was a nuisance to everyone on the other side. There were not many points he could use to defend himself. He dropped out of school, mixed with the “wrong” people, was the epitome of scum like manners and was the ignominy of his proud family. A smile stretched across his lips at the list of his accomplishments. Hands inside the pockets of his inadequately thin jacket he walked inside the door with a broken down sign on top of it which might have read “Bar” once upon a time but was now undecipherable. The smell of tobacco and whisky allured his nostrils. He sat on the squeaky old tool at the end of the counter and leaned against a column. He lit up a cigarette and devoured its smoke with his lungs and soul. He looked at all the lazy bodies slumped all around the bar, smoking and drinking without any care of the world. In spite of their placid faces there was belligerency in their eyes. He met the eyes of the shabby looking bartender for a second but he went on trying to make the stained glasses shine. And they did shine but they did not sparkle. He knew this man was not here for a drink but was not bothered by the least.

He closed his eyes for a moment when suddenly he heard somebody call “Hey!” He turned around to see a group of people sitting in the corner table looking at him expectantly. Among the familiar strangers he found the woman with the guitar from earlier that night, leaning against the wall, puffing away with half closed eyelids and giving him a frail smile. Looking at the empty seat beside them he placed himself on it and one of them lit his cigarette. And there in a cloud of tobacco smoke, surrounded by nicotine addicts, sitting on a hard wooden bench he found his home.




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