He hid in his room. The door closed, the shades drawn, the covers over his head. The deafening beating of his heart drowned out all sound, and cold sweat trickled down his back. His eyes were open, peering into the dark, but seeing nothing. Ragged breaths pushed through as he clutched and clenched his hands in a well practiced dance that accomplished seemingly nothing.
Yesterday things had been better. Yesterday was the best day. The sun had burned away the clouds revealing the true colors of things. Promises were made and plans set in motion. People stepped out of the shadows and became human again. He had vowed not to be different this time.
The park. Green grass and sparkling water. The dappled shade of many trees inviting and patient. A promise of quiet reading, or leisurely strolls and pleasant conversation. This was the life that he deserved. The time for hiding was done. Both feet would be planted and with a powerful and clear voice the world would know he was ready to be happy.
It had started with the new bike. Bought months ago and assembled with impatient glee. The sense of pride and purpose was lost when the rains started the next day. But yesterday, things were perfect, and so was he. Nothing could stop him. Athletic clothes and comfortable shoes. Lock the door. Walk the bike to the road. Mount it and just start peddling.
It was a bit of a rocky start, sure. Years and decades had passed since the last time. But, soon muscles and mechanics worked together and the world rolled by. There were people and so many cars. He managed to not hit anything or anyone, for which he allowed himself a smile. A random man walking saw it and smiled back. Yesterday had been a great day.
Arriving at the park tired and sore, but elated was almost enough. He stopped and looked around and caught his breath while he wiped the sweat away with an equally sweaty forearm. There were people everywhere. There were young women sunning themselves on blankets on the hill and playing with their phones. A group of men threw a ball back and forth in the large open area by the lake. Attentive parents escorted children and pets with equal ease through the throng. Others ran and swam and absorbed themselves in individual pursuits of all manner. They were Everywhere!
His heart had started racing then. Surrounded by them, watched by them, and now he was just staring at them. They were going to notice. They were going. to. notice. He was going to be the weird guy with the bike, just starting at them. They would know he didn't belong here. The dryness of his throat was demanding his attention. He averted his eyes staring at anything else. My the sky sure was interesting all of a sudden. Wow. Look at that tree over there. Quickly, before he drew any more attention to himself, he walked the bike back up the trail, and climbed back on it. His smile was long gone, but he forced his lips and face to pretend it wasn't.
What was he supposed to do now?
Next: Part 2