He has to go somewhere, get off the street. He doesn’t know where. Anywhere. A quiet interior. Like a church, but the people in those places are full of opposition. He walks around, looking for the right kind of place, all the while feeling as if there’s something in his chest about to fly out screaming. He finds a hall. Unlocked, no people inside, just him. Perfect. It’s like a community hall. That sort of thing. It doesn’t really matter what it is. It smells like a primary school. That smell, children, and thirty or so of them breathing in-out at the same time, and filling the air with their sticky breaths. Primary school. That’s a good memory. Mrs B. Oh, he hasn’t thought of her in ages. But she died. Pretty sure she did. Well, she must be well gone by now. This was years ago. He remembers her getting sick. She might have died while he was at the school. He can’t think now. He should know something like that. He liked her, a lot, but did she like him?
It’s subdued in the hall, mellow and airy. Not silent though, but that’s alright. The traffic outside, you can hear its hum and throb. In a way it’s reassuring, to know that everything is going on beyond, and that none of it is touching him in here. He grabs a chair from a stack and sits in a corner. If someone comes and says something, he’ll say he was feeling unwell and came in to recover. He wouldn’t really be lying. It’s peaceful in the hall. Peaceful more than quiet. Dust motes in a shaft of sun. He starts to breathe with a slow simple rhythm. His chest loosens. His body feels steady. Is this calmness? he wonders. But how long will it last? Things like this, they usually end too soon. Silence, for example, is always about to be shattered. A piece of music fades, or shuts off. Stories break off. Things end, in their way. The thought makes him feel rushed, as if he has to grab at the moment. He shuts his eyes. Maybe sleep, then. Try to sleep. Sitting, sleeping. Maybe that’s the answer. Often he sleeps. It works, mostly. And when it doesn’t, it doesn’t. But that’s okay. It’s okay, because mostly it works.