JD DeHart is a writer and teacher. His chapbook, The Truth About Snails, is available from RedDashboard.
He marveled, she marveled, as the ways of people. How they could smudge you out of recognition and smile at you the next moment. How they could pursue you, as in love, and spurn you the next.
A hand on his shoulder, she tried to comfort him. Some vague ethical notion about trying to be kind to people was in the back of his mind, but he simply did not like people. He learned a new word the other day: Misanthrope. This was now his word, he owned it.
She was whispering something about that’s just the way it is, something about how the world worked, and he did not care to hear about the rusty cogs of the earth.
During the festival of Epiphany, he was not sure what happened, but he knew that it was all about divine appearance. How now, in his own story, a guiding star from the east or west descending would have been kind of nice and easy.
He imagined their words again, even though they had been spent like shells in the air: Doesn’t belong here, Just not good, Tried to stop him from coming. All of them a flood of unnecessary criticism.
Then, inside, he found a smaller splinter of freedom, an inkling of peace, in that he found, with his new word, he no longer cared.