From 'Truth or Dare':
His life until now had evolved 'completely and utterly' around sex.
Don't laugh, it was an expression his grandmother had used. Often. Before she died of brain cancer, nineteen years ago. And the reasons for a life consumed by sex, were, many. Then again, he was a 'complete-and-utter' kind of guy.
A fast-moving slab of elephant grey slides across the top two-thirds of The Mountain. It obliterates it, beautifully. Neatly striated below it is an unmoving slab of olive green; the mountain is well-watered from the soaking start to the Mediterranean winter.
Below that, also tidy and parallel, is the white-walled glitter of Woodstock: somehow bright and golden sunshine has snuck under the cloud bank and, reflected from countless panes, has glorified the suburb on this chilly Saturday.
'It's a perfect example of the photographer's rule of thirds: eyecatchingly gorgeous it would make a stunning photograph, if I could but get off my sorry ass to take it.'
Something was shifting and although he inherently knew it, he wasn't comfortable. Right now it translated into a life without meaning, of living in a vacuum. He also understood that a vacuum needs filling; it's a non-negotiable law of the universe. Which meant he was treading into the unknown, again.
As he began to undress for his shower, rain unexpectedly thrashed the windows with a ferocity that caused him to hesitate and frown.
In the split-second his left brain had computed that he had no alternative but to go out this morning, he glanced down - his toenails needed clipping and his summer tan was almost gone.
He'd never had anything but perfect feet. Long and slender, they had always been taken care of. That his nails were long meant he was not expecting sex in the immediate future. Not that he cared too much right now, except that that in an instant it could change: a flash of white ankle as a scooter buzzed by; braces on teeth glitteringly shy in the light; a haircut; pixie eyes; paleness; a tortoiseshell rim of nerd-geek spectacles; a smattering of acne on otherwise smooth skin. The list goes on.
'Aaargh, now there really isn't time for coffee.'
He missed the bus by a minute and stood for another 29 under the blue, red and grey bus shelter waiting for the next. He might as well have been outside of the shelter because, lifted on gusts of gale, the rain attacked him horizontally, forcing him to use his man-brolly as a flimsy shield.
The storm was coming from the city, which looked as eery and as gloomy as Mordor. He frowned again. That's where he was headed. Into the storm.
He loved the abundant wetness of winter and all the moodiness that came with it, that everything was verdant. In stark contrast the dry hot, even scorching, neverending sunshiny days of summer - and the trickle-sweat from his armpits and behind his knees - apalled him.
He was rereading The Pilgrimage in preparation for his long walk across Spain next July; he never quite knew how to take Coehlo, nor if to take him at all:
'We must not stop dreaming. Dreaming nourishes the soul. Many times in our lives we see our dreams shattered and our desire frustrated, but we have to continue dreaming. If we don't, our soul dies, and agape cannot reach it.'
He pressed his head against the window as the bus jolted to town, and then later, back. His jeans were soaked from the knees down and a second spine of his short-stick brolly had snapped against the wind.
'Cheap made-in-China shit.'
He'd found it in the front of the class, left behind by a careless student weeks before the rains came.