He stands in the cold, hidden by the dark. In the early dusk near the end of the year the outside vanishes. His realm, his home, fades into obscurity, because when you have no home the outside is all that’s left. He also knows that inside is not as warm as it looks, not so inviting, and the coldness found there, in a place you are neither welcome nor wanted, is far more cruel than a life of kind strangers.

The ground crackles beneath his feet. Christmas is coming. At odds with the rest of the year, at odds with the rest of the world, it is an incongruous season that finally, after long being hinted at, is sadder and more upsetting than originally imagined.

He moves away from the house, away from the home, and realizes there is no home, not anywhere, not where there is safety. It is a freeing notion, but frightening to be so unleashed, like a floating balloon let go by the careless hand of a child. They always think you can get it back.

You always think you can get it back.

Once upon a time someone else’s balloon floated into his backyard, back when he considered it such. It was a Mylar birthday balloon, sparkling and bright, reflecting the sunlight on its impossibly shiny surface. He held it in his hands, ever-enchanted by the glittering flashiness of certain objects. It was limp, and barely floated along, caught by a trampled rusty fence, too weak to fly any further. He untangled the ribbon and carried it with him for a while. It was probably far from home, just where he would one day end up. He knew it then. He sensed it in the way things were changing, the way he was changing ~ the light gone from the house, the love gone from the eyes, and it would be that way with almost everyone. Almost. And he would be blamed for it. He knew that too.

In fact, he knew too much.

Maybe that’s what scared people. Maybe that’s what made him unlovable. Maybe it wasn’t who he became, but what he represented, and what he made them feel.

He walked around the house, circling, because he had nowhere else to go. Every home he thought he knew had been taken – they weren’t ever his from the start – and the realization stung and burned his eyes. It began to snow.

{See also 1:132:133:134:135:136:137:138:139:1310:13 & 11:13.}

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