I looked forward to not having to leave the house for days at a time. Sometimes, when I did leave, I could pick up some groceries and be set to hole up for several more days. I didn’t want to be around people, but no matter where you are you can’t get away from yourself. Still, you’d think you’d be safe at the grocery store. You push your basket down the aisles, read the nutrition labels, reject almost everything as too unhealthy, trying to stay out of trouble, and then you run into somebody.
I recognized him by the shape of his head, a huge head, slightly wider in back than in front. He was bald in much the same pattern I was, both of us with only wispy hair on top. I felt hesitant about speaking to him. I didn’t know if he’d remember me, but I’d gone through a period of radiation treatments a few months before and uncertainty about the outcome led me to think of my regrets, one of which involved him.
I could tell that he looked at people as little as possible. He had the same air of wary menace he’d had when we were in school, but decades of living had apparently deepened it. He remained a head taller than me, thick hands, aging tattoos on his forearms, the weight of his head seeming to burden his neck. Something inside him seemed on alert for an attack.