The freshness of the evening doesn't make him feel any better. There was a time when he looked forward to evenings like today, the way the chill of the air would encase him and make him feel alive, blowing away whatever had clung to him from the working day. He hasn't felt alive for many months now. He walks along the street, his shoes clipping on the pavement, there was a time he would hum along to the sound it made but not now, not today.
He cant remember when he first felt this way, its been a gradual change over a few months. There hasn't been an event which has changed him but more a series of incidents. He's always been the strong one, the one that people take thier troubles too but he doesnt feel so strong now.
He sees his wife everyday but there is something missing there now, he can feel it in her touch, in the way she holds him and kisses him. He can see it in her eyes, he's losing her and as much as she tells him shes not going anywhere he can see the truth and feel it in her words. In gestures which once ran with warmth, they are now tinged with a coldness and it cuts him to the core every single time.
He is surrounded by people all the time yet he has never felt more alone than he does now. The people he works with have no interest in his wellbeing, why should they he's a commodity, an expense, yet the pressure keeps coming, it never ends, the next target too be hit, the next complaint to be dealt with. Guilty until proven innocent, the weight of justice hanging on his shoulders to prove his innocence, the benefit of the doubt left behind a long time ago. Every day is the same now, it just never ends.
His friends don't see him the way he sees himself, he reads the statuses on Facebook about how a real friend can look you in the eye and know how your feeling without you saying a word. He reads the comments underneatth them "Im here for you babe" "Im sending you hugs" "If you want to talk you know where I am" they go on and on. Hollow words sent with no feeling. He sees the like button being hit time and time and time again and yet all he wants to do is scream at them "What about me?"
He doesn't though, he never does, he has tried to tell others how he feels but they just look at him and carry on with their own stories so he stops trying. Instead he bottles it up inside and hopes that one day soon the pain inside will leave him alone, the sleepless nights, the fear in his heart that he will lose all that he holds dear.
Yet they still they come, the friends with their problems and their concerns too burden him once again. The people he's never met who seem free to attack him from behind a computer screen, the family once so close yet now a distant memory and the grudges that are held. He takes a deep breath and smiles at them, he always greets them with a smile it is what they have come to expect of him, its the only defense he has left.
He reaches his destination, he pulls the coat around him a little tighter, trying to keep the cold out as best he can. He stands there for a moment his key in his hand, he wants someone, anyone to ask him how he feels, to hug him tightly and tell him its going to be okay, for someone to realise how he truly feels.
But he knows they wont, they never do. He is alone with his thoughts and his fears, he is losing hope by the day. It just keeps getting harder and harder to put one foot in front of the other.
He puts the key in the lock, takes a deep breath and opens the door.
"Hi guys Daddy's home" He cries cheerfully, hoping that tonight someone will notice behind the smile is a man desperately clinging on.