Finding Nothing in Something
He moved with a purpose to his stride, averting the eyes of passersby. His hat was tilted, shading his face from some nonexistent source of light. It was black, like the rest of his outfit. Not because of some sort of dismal outlook towards life like the kids that hung out at the coffee shop near the old town hall, but because of a need to look professional in an increasingly demanding world. His face was weathered from years making this trek through pouring rains and blistering, salty winds. It was the only way, what else could he do? His facial expression remained permanently stern with a hint of almost undetectable sadness.
He arrived at a large, deteriorating metal door at the entrance to a building resembling an undersized warehouse. The hinges were tinted orange with rust, one of many clear indications of the amount of upkeep that went on here. He placed his hand on the doorknob, nearly pulling away as he felt the cold sting of metal against flesh. A quick hesitation, then he pressed forward through the door and into a society separate from the John Does and average Joes, a place which most people avoided out of principle. But those people were ignorant; this was a place of salvation, a patch of heaven for those who would never see such a place. This is where he went to escape, yet from here he never could escape. The usual strange combination of smells penetrated his nostrils as the door creaked open: stagnant air, red wine, and tobacco smoke. He walked into the corridor, gaining more confidence with each step. As he neared the function hall the heat of bustling bodies and burning cigarettes permeated through his clothes and into his skin. A man stood guard at the entrance to the hall, awaiting the next lost soul that should drift through this god-forsaken building. The man stepped aside to let him through. He required no introduction, no one questioned him, no one cared. “Half an hour,” the man said as he stepped into the room. Half an hour… barely enough time to do nothing. He walked to the farthest table in back and emptied his pockets onto it. He pulled out a rickety wooden chair out from underneath and sat down directly across from a familiar face. They exchanged blank stares for a moment, and then, for the first time in almost ten years, he smiled.