Apparently, Hunter had not been quite the man he had hoped to be.
Better to admit it now, he figured.
Caressing his own hands, he tried his best to ease the nerves that came with facing his true self.
Downstairs, his father’s TV was echoing reruns of black and white comedies that relied too heavily on the body.
Even in the chaos that was his current mind’s state, Hunter was annoyed by the sound.
Forgetting to lock the door behind him, he swiftly exited the house and headed down the road towards the liquor store.
Gathering his thoughts as he walked, he tried to recall the moment in which everything he thought he knew about himself had collapsed.
Hunter was sure that, at some point, the change had been provoked – but that was mostly because while admission was easy, taking responsibility was not.
Instinctively, Hunter tugged on the heavy glass door and gasped a little when it creaked open.
Just as he had not expected to commit his most recent crime, he had not expected to find the liquor store still open.
Killian was behind the counter as usual, tired and hacking up a lung.
Little else could Hunter say about the storeowner but that the man sure loved his cigars.
Murder, She Wrote moved silently about the small screen propped up in the corner.
Numbly, Hunter gave a friendly nod and continued towards the back, where they stocked the cold beer.
Overhearing two other customers rattle on about the rising cost of Californian wines, Hunter stopped dead in his tracks.
Perhaps it wasn’t her – no; no, it was definitely her.
Quaking under his two sweaters, Hunter glanced back at the exit, wondering if he could make it unnoticed.
Realizing the impossibility of it, he opted to proceed towards the refrigerators, though he did so with much lighter steps.
Soon, he told himself, he’d have his beer in his arms and he’d be out the door; easy as pie.
“Twelve – eighty-five.”
Under his breath, Hunter thanked Killian and gestured for him to keep his change.
Very carefully, he peeked to his left to verify that the movement he sensed was her; she was getting closer.
While it had briefly occurred to him that she might not recognize him after all this time, he knew it simply couldn’t be so.
Xeroxed images of their time together seemed to flash rapidly before him, so that he had to squeeze his eyes shut to rid himself of their light.
“Yeah. I knew that was you. Off the wagon, as per usual.”
Zero sympathy – yes, that was her alright.
Shyla Fairfax-Owen ©