An empty can of coke, or a wrapper left by the bench side, maybe a poem half scratched into the drying concrete. These were all the tell-tale signs of being five minutes too late.
They were empty gestures aimed at trying to maintain contact when mouth to mouth, face to face, body to body, contact could not be kept. It was in the inorganic artefactual remains that an attempt at communication was continually made. It happened slowly at first, becoming more gradual and intense, and then, overwhelmingly, it ultimately became depressing as Henry couldn’t maintain verbal or physical contact with those around him.
He became an invisible body, lost in the ebb and flow of a time he no longer felt that he belonged in.
He tried, at first, to scream his welcomes, his hopes, fears and joys to anyone that would listen. He stopped by the corner-shop he visited as a child, tried to speak to the vendor of sugar coated dreams with no luck, stopped by his schools, each in turn, searching for teachers old and new. Yet it was a hopeless and a thankless task. Everywhere Henry visited he was five minutes too late.
He could sense the swirling of the bodies that danced around him, yet they were just an outline, never sketched in properly. They were intangible, un-contactable. Each minute, each hour, and each day etched into Henry’s heart a feeling of numb pain, the kind that, if you do not warn it off, becomes entrenched in the very fabric of the body. He knew this, of course, having seen his mother and father go through the same process, but he knew that they had truly loved him, that their gift had saved their son even if it had not saved them.
The days continued into months and the months tumbled into years. Contact, truthful heart to heart communication, remained a dim and distant prospect to Henry yet a diamond hard dream held still in his mind, that there was someone out there with who he could contact, who he could talk to, who he could be with.