Notes on the Grippe

Being an accounting of the recent and continuing pandemic and its various circumstances, from the perspective of an inhabitant of the regions lately called the Lost Quarter. Dates unknown.

Day Fifty Seven

A lone figure makes his limping way down the street. It is a painful progression, the man leaning heavily on his crutches, unable to put his full weight on either of his legs. Even from this distance I can recognize his form and hobbled gait.

He has been in this part of the Lost Quarter for quite some time, having arrived from parts unknown seemingly to stay. I see him often making his slow way somewhere, his face set with resolve. Occasionally he has stopped for a time to rest on some ledge or bench, his crutches set aside.

I approached once as he sat to inquire if he needed anything. A cup of coffee or a bite to eat. His expression, as always, was somewhere between grim and unreadable. He declined my offer in a gruff voice, harsh from lack of use.

No matter the weather he is forever wearing a heavy winter coat and a toque. For a time it was a bright red thing with dark stains of unknown provenance. Now it is a bulky, tan brown jacket, the dirt and wear less obvious as a result. On his back he carries a bulging pack that is heavy with all that he possesses. I have never seen him open it.

He has a long, stringy beard, white in color, that would, in another setting, give him something of the appearance of Santa Claus. On these streets he looks like a grizzled, aging gunfighter come to some frontier town, not out of choice, but because his fortunes have carried him this far and no farther. Of those fortunes and how they went foul, he will not speak. He doesn’t speak anyway, but of this particularly. That is the past and he is making his way forward. 

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