A man always walking in shadow

Scruffy tie and shirt

Image : Pixabay

Does he look in the mirror before he leaves the house?

At the shirt, discoloured from over washing, dimpled fabric that never sees an iron. A sheen of sweat coats him even on the coolest days and dirt driven into pores makes his skin grey – a man always walking in shadow. A broad, flat smile – mouth stretched wide – is his permanent expression, revealing chipped teeth stained ivory by early morning nicotine and late night coffee. A furred tongue licks feathered lips.

He tries hard to be someone, but he can’t hide the truth. It’s there in his eyes.

He’s afraid. Of failure. Of being seen to fail. He works hard achieving nothing and knows one day the facade of competence he’s built to fool himself and the world will be shattered by a misplaced word or a slip on a keyboard, taking job and money, family – his sense of self – with it.

That day will come but not today. Today, he survives.







25 thoughts on “A man always walking in shadow

  1. Read this out to hubs and he was blown away… That is Everyman right there on the screen. What a brilliant piece – you entered into the inner world of a man struggling to get by day by day. As hubs said, “Jesus she’s talented!”

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    1. Oh, wow! He didn’t really say that, did he? That’s really made my day 🙂 Thank you so much – you’re always so supportive, such a sweetheart. I’m very grateful, always. Much love XXX

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      1. I think the majority of us feel that way some of the time, and quite a few feel like it most of the time. Yes, very sad – the worst of it is that he’s probably really irritating to know.

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      2. Haha! Undoubtedly irritating. I’ve known a few people who are perfectly harmless – sometimes quite nice when it comes down to it – but with really irritating personalities which made them really hard to actually like. A shame really. 🙂

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      3. I can think of a few like that, who I’ve had in my life. It always seems unkind to try to shake them off.
        BTW I’m suffering post-J.S. and Mr Norrell doldrums – that was such a good book, and so well rounded off -what a writer! What a massive amount of work, to write a book like that. Again, thank you for the gift. My friend Elaine wants to read it next, and I have at least one other friend who wants to read it.
        The trouble with passing books around is that the author loses out financially…

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      4. I’m so glad you loved it! I hoped you would. Yes, it took her a long time to write apparently and with all the footnotes I’m not surprised – it’s a chunky book anyway and the notes must add up to another book on top. Glad it has good homes to go to. You’re right about the author missing out on revenue, but I believe it sold a lot of copies, so I don’t think Susanna Clarke will worry too much 🙂

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      5. Good – I expect she borrows and lends out books herself – everyone does, which is as it should be, otherwise millions of paperback novels would get pulped after one reading, because the charity shops wouldn’t be able to cope with the volume of second-hand books. 🙂

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      6. I’ve noticed a sad reduction in the number of second books sold by charity shops in our area – not sure if it’s a reflection on our community (more drinking and computer game people than reading?) but it’s a real shame. Used to get a lot of bargains but no more. Also noticed a rise in prices for second hand books on stalls at the harbourside – the paper back becoming a colector’s item?

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      7. At the last count there were twenty charity shops in the town centre, and I think less than half of them sell books. Oxfam is known for its books, but in Barnstaple, at least, they don’t bring in as much revenue as could be hoped.
        Pricing is difficult. A couple of places sell tatty paperbacks for 50p. We charge a whopping £1.99, but only put out really tidy books. I’m a bit naughty – I tend to buy most of my paperbacks for 50p from the recycle shop or shopmobility. But I buy almost everything else from Oxfam if I can.

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      8. We no have an Oxfam that’s all books and an Amnesty bookshop too, but both are across town, not near to us. Our charity shops are all tatty Primark clothes and Shoe Zone slippers. Haha! 🙂

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