Snow whips into his face, driven by the harsh, lake winds, but Pete just buries his head deeper into his hood. He walks along the boardwalk, cautious with every step, because falling into the ice-cold river is definitely not on his list of things to do today. Then again, leaving his nice warm, or at least not freezing, house to go out and get momma’s cancer sticks was also not on is to do list. Still, that is what he finds himself doing, so he just keeps on keeping on, gloveless hands buried deep in his pockets.
He takes this way because he knows no one else will be down here, not this time of year. Pete’s a quiet boy. He always keeps his head down, he always keeps out of trouble. No mean feat in this all to mean neighborhood. People on this side of town have been forgotten. The only time anyone notices is when a corpse shows up in public, and even then, so long as they belonged there, well, only so much attention is paid.
When you feel forgotten you feel worthless, so you no longer care about what happens to you. You sell rocks on street corners, or yourself. You pick up bad habits and maybe hurt others to pay for them. Mostly you just hurt yourself, because why not? At least that is something you can control. Sure the “right” people will tell you to put down that forty, or go wait in line at the jobs office. They say that because they don’t know any better,
Pete knows better, even if he chooses to stay clear of trouble. He doesn’t judge anyone. Gram let him and momma move in with her when momma got sick, so they live here, with the forgotten people. They live here and are ignored until it is too late. They live here with people who Pete would rather walk an extra mile to avoid in the bitter, lakeside cold than to risk an encounter gone wrong.
There’s no fixing it, so why worry? He just does his best not to get caught up. Some day momma will be so sick they’ll have to move her into a home. When that happens, he can move on. Until then, he takes the long way around, his hands in his pockets, and head buried in his hood.
- The Rainstorm. 200 Word Flash-Fiction Challenge (sexortv.wordpress.com)
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