Koi Fish | Charlie McFadden

    The man opened the door and stepped onto the street. He could hear the roaring engines and screeching of the tires, but on his street, everything was still. He felt like he was in a painting. He looked up at the sky and saw the sun peeking out over the horizon, as the moon and the stars waved goodbye and turned away.
    The birds began to chip and sing to no one but him. He thanked them for their efforts to brighten his spirits, but their efforts were useless. His heart is broken, and there is no amount of singing that can mend it and stitch it back together. The man didn’t know why his heart had shattered on the floor of his stomach, but he knew that he couldn’t do anything to change it.
    He started to walk down his silent street and look for anyone who may be in the same pit in which he found himself. The sun had not yet brightened his part of the world, so the only thing he had to rely on to see were the street lamps that lined his march. The lamps sprayed orange light across the street, and the man wondered if the light was orange because the bulbs were orange or because the casings were. 
    He looked up again at the moon, as it blew him a good morning kiss goodbye, slowly escaping to the other parts of the world. He knew that he would see it again, but he could not help but feel like someone he had once trusted left him alone again.
    Along his walk, he approached a diner. The white light that it gushed and leaked transformed it into a holy place for him. It struck out against the moon’s abandonment and the sun’s neglect with its own bright white light.
    He walked into the diner and ordered two cups of coffee with two creams and no sugar. The woman serving him brought them out quickly and shuffled off into the kitchen to make sure everything was ready for the day. He drank one of the cups of coffee and remembered the first time that he drank coffee: he was very young. He remembered asking his mother for a taste of the black elixir that had been promised to him by all of the television he had watched. Instead, he drank a bitter sludge that made him cringe and spit. His mother laughed and drank it, ignoring the spit. 
    Now, his taste buds had soured and dulled to the point where he could drink it. He then took out the match book that he had hidden away in his coat pocket. He lit one of the matches, let the fire go out on it, and then threw it into the empty cup. He did this again, and again, and again until the book was out of sacrifices for him. He drank the second cup of coffee.
    He walked out of the diner and waved to the cars that passed him on his walk back home. Goodbye cars, he said quietly to himself.