eyes closed

As a child, usually on the way home from school, Dennis would walk for as long as possible with his eyes closed. It was a self imposed terror where each step meant one fewer until he tripped, hit a tree or stumbled into traffic. As he walked the tension from counting down to an unknown endpoint would ratchet ever higher, his leg muscles would tighten and each step pulled itself closer than the one before. When his nerve failed, usually within twenty paces from starting, he would open his eyes disappointed, still distant from any danger. Dennis' favourite subjects at school were art and recess, but a bodily understanding of probability and calculus was evident.

As an adult Dennis found himself blocks away from his last memory, looking up from his phone's screen, his thumb numb from the cold task of texting. His eyes had been open the whole time, just not looking or remembering past his hand while he'd navigated tracks of darkened sidewalks, avoiding people and poles, to get where he was. After a brief nap, beer, weed, vodka and Ritalin his steps were fluid and careless. For the time-being Dennis was unworried moving forward, whether he looked where he was going or not. He knew the thrum of dread that normally sat gently on his life could easily be resumed tomorrow, from whatever point he'd left off.