Eventually, whilst the pain of walking in a harsh, dry sun was unbearable, The Resident managed to struggle onward with less and less stopping.
There were things that needed to be done. There were responsibilities that needed to be carried out and regardless of their current state of being and their current state of mind, The Resident needed to push on forward and get the required obligations into a place that was behind them, even if it would only be a temporary respite.
Still, despite all their pushing onward toward the destination of the day, every uneven surface of bitumen could be felt and every rough, lumpy part on a footpath felt almost as though The Resident was placing their feet onto rocky surfaces in the bush. They could feel it all digging in, trying to break through in order to be really felt, but the barrier held out and all that was able to penetrate was the ongoing, rough and at times overwhelming pain that served as a reminder of the journey far more than the destination.
Had it been a little cooler, The Resident may have felt the ground a little less than they were. The heat only served to exacerbate the situation a little more than The Resident would have liked, for not only was it making the ground a little more rough to walk along, but it also reminded The Resident of how dry they were and how bright it was outside of their house.
Still, onward they persisted and onward along lengthy stretches of street they traversed.
Eventually the looming, rigid and amorphous shopping centre rose from behind a few residential properties. This brought a renewed sense of determination within The Resident, or perhaps it was more of a feeling of relief, for the cool, smooth floors in the shopping centre would allow for a lovely respite from the walk outside. It would be as bright inside, but far less so than it was under the unbearable sun beating down on all that could not escape into shade for a whole day.
At one of the many entrances The Resident stood as the automatic doors opened. A small rush of cool air could be felt and as it passed by, The Resident found themselves more than compelled to walk inside and allow it to embrace them. This was more than a feeling of relief. For them, this was a heaven that had been explored many a time, but never fully appreciated for what it enabled in dire times of duress.
No longer were they shuffling along, walking slowly yet surely in pain as each step meant that each foot would touch rough, hot surfaces, but they were now gliding along, floating on a surface that was hard, yet smooth and cool. The Resident could have been a dancer in that time, for they were as graceful in their dry, rough shuffling gait as any person who could express power and grace using their body in the form of dance.
The Resident glided their way to the supermarket with a bit of a grimace, for they knew that there was a fair bit of food that they needed to acquire. It dawned on them that they needed to get in and out quickly, for they had reached the supermarket at the peak hour of other people shopping and any minute wasted in an aisle was another minute that they would have to spend surrounded by a mass of fleshy beings creating a noisy drone of far too many voices to decipher.
In they went and plunging themselves into the chaos that they seemed destined to embrace, The Resident set themselves to the task at hand.
No longer did they feel as thought hey were gliding, but instead they were walking along a surface with no discernible features to help indicate and place themselves within space and time, for it was smooth the whole way, yet with a great amount of traction that forced the realisation that one foot was definitely being placed in front of the other for the whole time spent within the supermarket. The coolness was still somewhat of a relief, but gradually it was growing into something that was complimenting the pain of walking outside, for the memory of the ground outside was still lingering.
The brightness of the supermarket was almost overwhelming. However, The Resident pushed on through and made their way through each aisle as deftly as they could and bought what they remembered to buy.
Soon they were at the counters. Whilst any day would normally see one of the self-serve checkouts used, it seemed almost like an incomprehensible proposition to consider and so relying on one of the staffed registers was the option chosen.
Luckily it was not a long wait for service and soon standing opposite the cashier was The Resident idly watching their items being scanned.
“Good morning! How are you today?”
“…Morning. I’m uh… not bad. Alright. Bit tired.”
“Well, at least you’re getting things done. Big plans for the day?”
“No. Maybe? How come?”
“Well, you’re buying a lot of stuff. Looks like you’re planning a big feast.”
“No. Just shopping.”
“Well, you are prepared!”
“Thanks? Uh… how are you?”
“Oh, I’m alright. Just busy. Nothing like a bit of hard work to make the day go by fast!”
“You know, capsicum is really delicious! Various colours and flavours and works well in a lot of different states, depending on how it’s cooked.”
“Yeah. I’ve got a few.”
“I can see. It’ll go well with a few of the things you’ve got here.”
“Yeah, it will. Thanks for the suggestion.”
And shortly after, The Resident paid and left as quickly as they could.
There was still an outside world that needed to be embraced and they were not sure if they were ready for the task.
The Resident braced themselves for the incoming warmth and, approaching the exit, stepped outside.
The time it took to write one thousand words: 21:28:18
It had been a while since I attempted with a higher word count and I’d meaning to continue this story for a while.
Not exactly great writing, but I think that there’s at least a continuous narrative thread that kind of tells a story that makes some sort of sense.
Written at work.