An Easy Favor Pt. 5

Hawthorne tore into the meatball sub as he sat on the bed in his room. It was the first non-prison food he had had since his sister’s funeral and he nearly wept at the taste of it. He had to stop himself from wolfing the whole thing down right away. He took his time, meticulously eating and tasting the meal and trying to remain present in the moment. He had also bought an iced tea and a coffee. He had had coffee in prison but it was pretty close to mud. This was sub shop coffee but it was about twenty times better than the stuff in prison. He had not had iced tea since before the trial.

He had the blinds open on his window so he sat and stared out as the sun went down in Baltimore City. People were coming home from work or going out but Hawthorne felt so disconnected from it all. He was out of prison but he had not really reentered society. He was forbidden from contacting most of his friends and he did not really have much family anymore. The few he knew of would not want to talk to him. He was looking forward to meeting people and possibly making some new human connections but he knew that it would be rough going as well. He was an ex-convict and most people would not respond well to that.

He hoped that his new boss would be agreeable. He knew that he could be a good hand around a parts shop but he would be hard-pressed to make a good impression. If things went poorly, work would not be a happy place to spend time. Hawthorne had no choice but to try to be optimistic that he could win his boss and coworkers over. He wanted to have a good life but he knew that a lot of people would want him to be miserable. The stigma of prison would never go away as long as he lived. It was not like society was going to change anytime soon and he could not hide his past.

It started to rain outside and he stood up to watch everybody scurry around. A few well-prepared people deployed umbrellas. It paid to be prepared. It started to pour and even the umbrella users started to hurry and soon only cars were on the street. The sound of the rain was peaceful and Hawthorne took several deep breaths as he let the sound fill his being. He had been the muscle between him and his sister but he had always been the more contemplative. Mars had never wanted to stop and think. It gave her anxiety to stand still. Things would be a lot more peaceful without her.

He watched as a single person in a long raincoat walked down the street as if the rain did not bother them. They were tall and thin and walked with ease. That person stopped in front of the halfway house and looked up and. for a moment, Hawthorne could have sworn that she could see him. The girl had an eyepatch over her right eye and her left eye had a fierce wildness to it. It took Hawthorne a few moments to remember that the window was built with thick one-way glass. Still, her look had unnerved him and he hit the button to close the metal shutters. He could still hear the rain.

He walked back to his bed and sat down to finish his sandwich. In the morning, he would use the free day to track down Art’s daughter. He would give her the message and then he would move on unless she wanted to talk about her dad a bit. He did not have a lot to offer but he could talk about how Art was inside and how he was as a cellmate. After that, he would grab some groceries so he could cook a bit over the coming week. In the meantime, he was starting to get very tired. He would go to sleep soon and hope that he had no bad dreams.

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