Seen Through a Window – mouse555

Disclaimer: All character names are the property of Stephenie Meyer. Please do not reproduce this work of fiction without my written permission.

The biting, icy cold wind suddenly stopped affecting him as he shuffled along the street, his feet numb from the cold and wet. The vast window caught his attention and made him stop.

The restaurant was full to capacity, the diners dressed in all their finery and bathed in the warm soft lighting. The joy seeped out to him soundlessly as he watched laughter and conversations.

His mouth began watering as waiters carried trays of steaming food to the many tables. A plate of rare steak caught his eye as a fat man in a tuxedo began to tuck in as if it were his last meal. If only he knew what it were really like to go without food.

A tureen of deep red soup passed under his eye, so close, he could almost smell it. It poured thick and mouth watering from ladle to bowl in front of a little girl, her golden curls framing her head like a halo. She delicately spooned some into her mouth and smiled at the man who could only be her father, eyes crinkled in pride as she managed to eat without spilling a drop. His eyes followed every spoonful as it slowly levitated to her mouth. When finished, he watched her being kissed by both parents, her laughter ringing towards him silently.

A huge roast pig, complete with apple stuffed mouth meandered head height on a tray into the next room. As if connected by elastic, he moved along to the next window and watched more people enjoying themselves, trying to remember what it was like to be carefree, even if only for a short while in an environment such as this.

It had been a while since he'd worn a tuxedo and had been welcomed into establishments such as these. He'd taken it all for granted. Never again, if given the chance would he waste time on the unimportant things. He wished he could prove to people he was capable of being a man rather than just an entity invisible to pedestrians whose eyes slid past him, without seeing him. Now, his life consisted of threadbare slacks, a stained t shirt, a weather worn overcoat and fingerless gloves. His socks had been stolen, causing the old ragged boots to rub against his bare feet until he'd thought to wrap them in old newspapers found in overflowing dustbins. He was lucky if he managed to get a shower once every couple of weeks at a shelter. It had been a long time since he'd seen his hair in its natural blonde thanks to the pollution and general accumulated grime. He couldn't even remember the last time he'd had a haircut. After getting annoyed with his curls falling into his eyes, he'd resorted to tying it up with a piece of string he'd stolen from a bundle of newspapers sat outside a closed supermarket. It helped, but nothing was better than having neat hair that was out of the way.

He shook the memories away and raised his eyes once more to the softly lit room behind the thick glass. It was no longer lit. His personal demons had caused him to miss the end of the night. No longer were there mountains of food and happy people. The soft lighting had bee swapped for cold, functional lighting as the waiters stripped the tables of their dressings, revealing functional wood dispelling the illusion of indulgent comfort.

One by one, lights were extinguished as the restaurant. He began shuffling along the street, the biting wind once again turning his skin to ice. His deep blue eyes scanning the ground for somewhere sheltered and dry enough to get a few hours sleep. It was slim pickings on a Saturday night, but he kept going. He left the busy street to wander through the quieter side streets, avoiding a bar brawl that had spilled out into an alley. All the larger doorways were filled with two, three even four sleeping bodies. Sensing he was out of luck after spending so much time outside the restaurant, he decided to head to the local park in the hope of finding a spare bench.

There were a few teens hanging around in the playground drinking cans of cheap beer and generally fooling around. Like everyone, they didn't see him as he hunched his tall frame to appear smaller. After what felt like hours of walking, he found an empty bench. Wearily sitting down, he looked across the lake wondering how long he would be able to sleep before the police moved him along. He lay down and shut his eyes, savouring the silence.

In a blink of the eye, it was morning and he was being woken by rough shakes. He opened his eyes to find a policeman leaning over him, telling him he had to move. He stood up slowly, letting his tall frame tower over the man in uniform. He turned to walk away when he saw the policeman's female partner. His jaw dropped open as their eyes met. Her soft voice caressed his ears.