A man awoke in his flat, two streets north of the deli and one street south of the red line bus. His night shirt was damp with sweat and it clung to his heaving chest as he collected himself from his unconsciousness. He could not recall what it was that put him in such a vexed state but the feeling that lingered was one he was all too familiar with. As he sat at the cafe down the block he thought upon his previous night’s rest. It was as if a rather large rubber ball had landed on his face but no sooner had the ball flattened him to the ground had it bounced away. He pondered this feeling as he took a drag from his cigarette. Before the man could blow out the smoke from his mouth he felt a light tap on his shoulder. As he turned to address the figure that stood a little too close behind him his nose was met with the sharp scent of cinnamon.
“Pardon me,” said the man that had tapped him on the shoulder, “have you got a light on you?”
The man instinctively patted at his breast pocket of his coat and felt the outline of his matchbook.
Just as instinctively as checking his pocket the man involuntarily replied, “No.” The man supposed it wasn’t completely involuntary since he was indeed the one who had said it and he was not physically forced into denying the other man his matches but he wondered why he’d been so cold to this stranger. Perhaps it was this puzzling dream he’d had, the incomprehensible feeling leaving him unkind and confused. When the man had come out of his thoughts he looked up to see the stranger had gone and he was alone once again.
The man strolled through the park that same afternoon, again perplexed by his own mental state. How was it that such an abstract and intangible thing as a dream had altered him so. He shook his head and, as his own form of personal punishment for being so rude to the bystander, allowed the autumn breeze string his nose, forbidding himself from seeking refuge in the collar of his coat.
Later that evening he sat in the armchair in the corner of his room, the one he generally reserved for smoking fine cigars in and writing poetry. But he was not smoking anything nor was a pen or paper in his hand, rather he stared at his bed like it was a menace, the vessel for which was the cause of his troubling dream. It was not a nightmare, he thought, yet far from euphoria. A state of mind he could only attain when his body was at rest and his mind was left to its own devices. He sat there for a long time. Long enough that his senses began to leave him, one by one like old friends gathered around a campfire, they each headed off to bed. First, he no longer felt the bristles of his velvet armchair. He lost track of the scent of hot pavement baking in the humidity just past his open window. Burned ash and nicotine ceased from his mouth and not even white noise was audible to him in that moment. His last sight before he took the plunge, the gleam of a shiny rubber ball.