walking weekend

by Dan

Poor Mike cannot ignore the snores. He endures them, restlessly, sleeplessly,

each stagger and lift, lilt and drift through the darkest bite of the moorland night.

Zero steps done and a head like a rock, it’s 3.48 on his fitbit clock.

A scary gasp, a snuffling rasp, and an exhalation of Olde Temptation laced with a hint of Sweet Chilli Sensation wafts to him softly on the air, from some loud nostril over there.

It was cost sparing, all four sharing, A walking weekend with the old, old friends. Garry, Harry and Tall Paul Ball in the cottage by the Hall.

Garry, once the classroom fool, uses the nicknames they had at school. Some oblique and some unfair, (like Mike’s “Foureyes” which they all now share!). But Garry’s own life is made less tragic by summoning up this ancient magic, and, reconstituting the old hierarchy with a steady barrage of lame malarkey. What all the old friends know of course is, you can’t hit back with “Four Divorces!”

Since school they’ve sort of stayed in touch, in part for touch’s sake. Now they are here again…..drinking beer again…….fighting fear again, and keeping Mike awake.

Harry gives a loud uncaring snort, Mike jumps aboard another train of thought. What’s our future after Brexit? Over 50, no more sex? It all moves on too fast to measure, the certainties he used to treasure are wrong, or worse, don’t bring him pleasure. Shut the fuck up snoring will you? Honestly I want to kill you.

Zero steps done, awake a while, it’s 3.59 on the Fitbit dial.

About to drop off til Tall Paul coughs, and suddenly work! Did he sent that vital mail? He feels they’re waiting for him to fail. Monday’s briefing unprepared, 55 and still shit scared.

It is a spooling mess this useless brain, how many thoughts can a head contain? Technology that he can’t master, years that pass by ever faster, but seconds that seem to crawl, try to think of nothing at all.

And quickly creeping tiredness overtakes him, begone you cunning wakeworms and forsake him! Gentle waves of calm unconscious seep and welcome Mike into the world of sleep.

Zero steps done and the Fitbit screen tells no one that it’s 4.19.

Morning, and yellow-green hillsides are dappled in thin March sunlight,

Two Crested Grebes do their extraordinary dance of love on the Reservoir.

A flock of Tufted Ducks sweep overhead in the direction of Iceland.

In the pub Harry does the crossword, despite much impotent ridicule by Garry, a nice man but somehow desperate, Harry doesn’t care, He does what he likes nowadays.

Mike smiles at the comforting jokes being passed between his oldest friends. The Spring and the exercise pours him a thrilling pint of weightlessness and happiness. They’re not a bad crowd.

A walk in the country always sorts one out. He’s a bit tired after the snoring mind, Next time he’ll pay for a room on his own.

26534 steps! Result!

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