I didn’t empty the organic waste in time. I realised that last night. The compostable bag had lost integrity and collapsed, spilling waste into the base of the receptacle. An odour had built up, noticeable when I opened the lid during the evening. The smell of decomposition. Not nice.

So today, after the blast of a hot shower, that was the first order of the day. Empty out the waste. Clean the mess. Retch.

The gag-reflex had me on my knees. It wasn’t even that much waste, really – how much can one person produce in a week? But some combination of off-cuts and castaways must have really ripened in there. Drops of browning, green liquid, each with their own noxious scent, fell to the floor as I worked quickly. Trying to inhale. Gagging as I did.

So starts the weekend, right? Once done, cleaned up, floor cleaned, hands scrubbed several times, I went about my day. Trying to ignore the memory of that smell, a phantom that haunts the afternoon.

I visit a local caf bar. Then get my hair cut. Ignore the cough of the barber, how I can feel the air brush past my skin. Hoping my immune system can handle whatever I was just exposed to. Tip the barber, anyway, as they held an open razor to my skin at one point, and I never want to be the one they remember as a bad tipper in the future. Just to avoid potential clumsiness.

Picked up a book from a merchant. Hard copy. I have three weeks to read it, then I’m going to head to a social night there, where other fans of the written word will gather informally. Could be interesting.

I feel like I look okay today. Dressed in black, fresh hair cut, standing at the transit point. Waiting to head into central. Deep chill settling into long fingers as I tap out a missive on my comm.

I’m on my way to a party, between the towers of the financial district, and the sinkhole of the party zone. A social gathering in central, in honour of two friends that are recently engaged. While I’m not a fan of observing some customs, where money is spent for the sake of it – because our culture says we must – I can get on board with a party to celebrate two people in love. Call me soppy, like that.

It will be hard on me a little, at times, as I can’t escape the contrast between their love and the long-term absence of love in my own life. I remember her talking about meeting him, over one summers-day lunch in the city, a few years ago. They have dated, fallen in love, moved in together, built a life together. Gotten engaged. And in that time, I’ve found nothing. I can be happy for them, but at the same time, I am sad about the absence of love in my own life.

Tonight, I need to hide the second of those emotions, as this is about them, not me. They deserve the joy, they are a good couple. And I’m thankful for her, last year, finding a way to throw a rope down into the hole I was in, helping her friend climb back out.

The transit arrives. Warmth against the cold, where my fingers will ache less. I take the journey into central. A journey, as ever, into the unwritten future.


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