The world started without him. It continued well after, as well.
He was born in a small rural Alberta town, just south of nowhere and north of nothing important. His life was full of disappointment, heart-break, and loved ones lost. Yet still, he enjoyed the days.
In particular, he enjoyed the breeze that would swoop down from the mountains in the West, curl around his house like a cat circling it's rest. The wind would crept in to every nook and cranny in the place, laying silt on every available surface.
He enjoyed the creak of the old wood and the whistle from the tin roof that had long since become loose from the constant prairie gusts.
On most nights, the sound of the wind soothed him off to sleep. But not this evening.
He had been awake since 6 am, just before the sun had broken. But even in the lateness of evening, he couldn't find a nod. His mind was fixating upon the things that had gone wrong in his life.
He had not been a social man. He had picked the house and the land he inhabited to escape the city he had once visited for 10 years in his youth. But the move had not always worked the trick he had hoped. His mind still returned there, not letting him escape the tendrils that had wound around his past, urban life.
He thought of the man for whom the department store's doors had caught his coat as he, the stranger, had been exiting with gifts piled high for his children. He recalled the urge to help, the sense that it would be polite, and even kind, to reach out and pull the door open so as to release the man's coat from it's clutches. He also recalled how he had simply moved on, not fulfilling his imagined nicety.
This moment had become a fixture in his frequent visits to the past. He had no good reason to think this made him a bad person, one lacking in a certain type of character. Yet still, it came back, over and over again -- revisiting his guilt upon him.
Things like this occupied his mind a lot, and usually for no particular reason, either.
He had had a good day that day. He had cleaned the kitchen for the 3rd time that month, and scrubbed the bathroom to a shimmer for the 8th. He liked the order, but lacked the discipline to leave good enough alone.
This was they way for him, the visits to the past came at least once a week, but this evening was -- in particular -- unsatisfactorily unpleasant.
He rose out of bed and made his way to the kitchen for a glass of milk, hoping that it might help calm his mind. Over the course of the short walk from the bed to the fringe, he quietly committed himself to returning to the city.
He hoped that his time in the house, in the wind, with it's creeks, and it's groans, dropped in the prairies, just east of the mountains, would not return to him during a sleepless night in the city.