As if the darkened skies were not enough, there was a sprinkling of rain in the air as well. David walked down that smudgy old main street of that smudgy old town that he called home and wondered how long those smudgy old buildings had been there. “The Midwest is no place for dreamers,” his uncle John used to say. What a fool Uncle John was – the entire world is no place for dreamers, for dreams always come to an end. We wake up. Everyone wakes up. We all wake up and we are forced to see what the real world is like. Is it a cup of coffee? Is it bacon and eggs? Might it rather be a carcinogenic, processed sausage and cheese biscuit monstrosity from the fourth ring of hell, served up to you in your car, piping hot and handed over by a bored, sullen teenager with bad skin and a pierced cheek and lip? Mornings are always a cold start, for it means the dreams come to an end.
“The dreams come to an end,” said David aloud, as he continued his walk down that smudgy old main street. It looked smudgy to him, he thought, really smudgy. Like a watercolor that you walk by in an art museum because you are bored and do not want to look at another watercolor. You just want to press on to the masterpieces that you know are in the next gallery...just around the corner...just beyond your view...just out of reach. “Don't wanna' look at it anymore...tired.” He had thought this once while walking through the Uffizi, and another time while walking through the Tretyakov. Now he said it aloud as he walked down the smudgy little main street of his home town. Where was the brochure to tell him how to get to the exit? He was tired of looking at this particular gallery.
“I would like a bagel,” David thought.
His mind drifted back to a bagel he had bought from a street vendor in midtown Manhattan several years ago. It was an “everything” bagel, and he could still dredge up from the recesses of his memory the feeling of the poppy seed stuck in the front of his teeth. He was scared to smile. He had been scared that day, too, several years ago. No smiles. No laughs. Just an everything bagel, he thought. Just some cream cheese, maybe, to go on top of it. Just a small cup of coffee. Just a walk through Central park with his wife. Just a smile. No more smudgy art gallery. No bastard art gallery guard to look at you with his greasy, sweaty face, looking at you like some kind of greasy, sweaty gargoyle who wants to take your everything bagel away from you and shove it in his own gaping maw, filling that greasy, sweaty belly.
Home again. Coffee in the percolator. The dog is wagging his tail. David's wife would be home in a couple of hours. He smiled. The skies looked a little less smudgy.