Cut Backs

The traffic light changes from red to green and the already booming sound from the passing cars becomes somewhere near deafening. Waiting at the bus stop is a tall middle-aged man hunched over in the snow, damp grey hair showing hints of once being a rich russet color. Clenching and unclenching his jaw he closes his grey eyes to the world around him as his hand tightens around a formal-looking letter.

Life goes on; phone conversations are had, newspapers are sold, gifts are bought. Here is a man who has lost everything yet the world continues its dull and sluggish ways none the wiser. He heeds nothing. When is that darned bus coming, he thinks gloomily. Someone honks. His mind seems about to explode. His hands meet his face, covering it. On their way back to his sides the gold ban around his ring finger catches his attention. It mocks him, laughs at him. She will never understand. They will lose the house. He hears some carollers down the street singing O, Holy Night. He seems without purpose, without identity.

Then he straightens up, his breath visible small puffs of smoke in the cold. His eyes are blank as he looks at the space in front of him, seeing nothing. The bus is arriving. He takes a few long strides and makes impact.

***

Everything is silent. Only the quiet ticking of a grandfather clock can be heard within the house. Evergreen and mistletoe can be seen around the room, where a proficient looking woman in the process of knitting a sweater, sits in a great chesterfield.
Unexpectedly the loud hum of a bell pierces the silence. The door is answered, the horrible news relayed. She cannot believe her own ears. He would never do such a thing and at a time like this. Words like dead and fired repeat themselves in her head. How will I tell them? She frets. She does not understand what is happening. Everything is lost; Money, house, marriage. Everything gone in the blink of an eye. All energy has left her and she slumps back down on the cold empty sofa. How will I tell the kids? Police is all around her, talking, trying to soothe her.
All she hears is silence and the storm brewing in her mind.

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