Rob Penn felt as if he had walked unawares into a stranger's family christmas photo. Their smiles, the sidelong glances at him, the slight lean forward over the table all made him question his presence, the part of his hair, the choice of the drink on the table in front of him, his right to existence. After she put her hand over his knee condescendingly he quickly excused himself and nervously but casually stepped outside.
Holding his cigarette firmly between his lip he dug in his pockets. Aside from paperclips and a pocketknife they were empty of anything useful.
Feeling foolish, he put his cigarette away and leaned against the brick. Staring at the parking lot in front of him, he let the pictures in his mind awake. Shadows of his mistakes manifested themselves in the oily puddles on the asphalt and the chill of the afternoon gently pressed against the side of his face. Out here in the parking lot his soul was bare.
He suddenly realized that being alone was no escape from the consequences that sat at the table inside. He couldn't figure out where he would rather be- in the center of the farce or alone with his conscience. Rob supposed a jump from a bridge would be his only peace, but even that peace may be short-lived. If there was an afterlife he didn't figure he had much of a chance.
He picked at the loose thread on his sweater sleeve. She had made fun of him when he picked it out to wear. he pulled at it. The thread unwound itself from the sewn path it had formerly followed and took with it three more strands, thus creating a small and shabby hole in the sleeve.
He flicked the threads on the sidewalk at his feet.
Her face appeared in the puddles on the asphalt. The cool sun above reflected in shimmers of rainbow in the oil and in the mirage of her hair.
A loud laugh sounded from inside the restaurant.
Rob Penn went back inside.