The first thing he notices are the distinct pinpricks of shivering tension up and down his legs, telling tales of the goosebumps forming on the surface of the skin, informing him that it is, in fact, too cold to be out here in the winter air on the rooftop of a council-sponsored breeding ground for petty business and petty people, alone. The light jacket is much better suited to summer, and his mother is always quick to remind him of his folly. Writing is not a pleasure; it is, so to speak, how he escapes to this place of ‘rhythm and rhyme, to get away from the pain, just a bit at a time.’ Lyrics from a rap song. How profound. But alone out here in the blizzard, playing back these quasi-relatable gospels of mistreated men and women in his head is all he really has to do. How strange, that we should be comforted by the mutual sufferings of others. Does their pain dull our own? Are we any better off?
These dark and foolish thoughts which only send his mind into looping paradox are not all that lay restlessly in his mind. There is something else, but for his own good, he should stick to these other thoughts, these impossible stairs. They are more feasible than the alternative. For that other has already pushed him a great deal over some lines, then stepped back behind them, only breaking the rules when they see fit. And it’s left him here, cantilevered on a precipice of desire and regret, coupled with fear.
Shrill beeps jerk him out of his quiet reverie, and a message informs him that his lift home is coming to get him, so sit tight. Wiping his face with the inside of a frostbitten hand, he fills the deepness with the gravelled mask, guarding himself and no longer allowing his mind to feel the cold.